babys all right

OSCAR’S ALL RIGHT
March 28, 2016 12:15 pm

Fresh from performing six shows at SXSW, Oscar is continuing to charm America with Monday night’s appearance at Baby’s All Right.

ATYPICAL SOUNDS sat down with the extremely well-dressed and exceedingly well-spoken musician, had a nice chat, and enjoyed 20 short minutes of relaxation before having to get up and continue being awesome.

oscar_albumOS: We’ve got some nice salsa music going on.

This is actually infinitely better than the music they usually play in this front area. You just came from SXSW. Did you fly in yesterday?

OS: Yeah, we left Austin at about 5:00 in the morning, and we got in to New York at about 2 in the afternoon.

That was me this morning.

OS: Did you just come from there?

Yeah.

OS: How do you feel?

How do you feel? Probably about the same.

OS: Yesterday was tough. I’m glad we didn’t play a show yesterday.

I don’t know how bands tour. How do you do it?

OS: With a lot of passion.

You did two official SXSW shows, did you do any others?

OS: We did one at the college dorm we were staying at on Pearl St., and then we did one for Culture Collide at Container Bar, which was really fun. We did one for Urban Outfitters, and we did one for Music for Listeners, which is a blog run by a radio station. We did six altogether.

Did you have any interesting experiences?

OS: There were a few people who knew the words for a lot of the songs, which is always really cool to see. At the last show we did, which was for Urban Outfitters, my pedalboard just stopped working, one of my guitar leads just died on me. It was really sad, but then I was like, “I can’t freak out, I’ve just got to keep playing.”, and eventually I just had to go straight in to the amp with the lead and it was ok.

I know the pedals are what make the guitar sound, you know, good.

OS: I know, otherwise it’s so dry.

What did you think of the weather in Austin? First it was oppressively hot, and then it was cold and nasty the rest of the week.

OS: It kind of reminded me of being home in London. Although London’s not ever that hot, the weather is so changeable. So it felt a bit more like home, but with more barbecued food and craziness.

You’re touring with Bloc Party in May and June throughout the U.S. That’s going to be fun, right? 

OS: It’ll be really fun. We did three shows with them in Europe, and they went really well. They’re great guys and girls, and I think it’s going to be great. It’s great playing for a big audience like that because it’s such a thrill.

And your album will be out by then as well. I have it now, because I know people…like your PR manager…who sent me your album.

OS: Hey, check you.

One thing that stood out to me about your SXSW profile is it makes a point of mentioning how you “studied sculpture at Saint Martin’s”. Other musicians from London I’ve spoken to sort of roll their eyes at Britpop because it’s not really cool there anymore, which is sad because I’m a big Pulp fan.

OS: Yeah, me too.

Is Britpop something that has influenced you at all?

OS: I think part of the background to my upbringing was all kicking off when I was a young ‘un. So it definitely would’ve soaked in somewhere and I listened equally to Oasis and to Blur as a kid. And then I got really into Britpop, and rediscovered it when I had more of an idea of what music was. Britpop was such a great moment for British culture and music, it was really exciting to see independently made music in the charts, I don’t think that would happen again. It was music made by people who had real character and a real message.

What led you to study sculpture?

OS: I went to like, 7 or 8 different schools. I ended up at a school which focused on art a lot, the arts really. So I was trained in a way to think about creation and education like that. And so I ended up applying for art school because it was the next logical step for me. I didn’t want to do music school because I was worried that it would kill the mystery and the romance of making music, and so I wanted to stay a little bit naïve. Which I think I did. So then I went to art school and I studied everything. It was a degree, so it was sculpture, drawing, painting. I tried it all out to see what was going on and what would work for me. I actually ended up doing lots of sound art; installation and sound sculpting if you had to give it a name. It just brought me straight back to music, which I had been studying and playing since I was six years old.

Is there anything you’d like people to know about your debut album before it’s released in May?

OS: I guess just to expect a variety of music that’s not all one style. It’s kind of like looking inside my head and seeing how many different things are going on, and how many different moods and cultures and genres there are going on inside my head.

Which song do you like performing the best?

OS: I love to perform “Sometimes”, because I get to jump around and be stupid. I also equally love to perform “Stay”, which was on the EP, because that one is the most emotional in the set.

Was it your idea to do a music video for “Sometimes”? So few musicians are doing music videos anymore.

OS: It kind of throws it back to the Britpop thing, because the 90’s promo was pretty fun and exciting. It really put the focus on something that wasn’t all about the audio. I think it’s nice to give someone something to look at as well as listen to. It wasn’t my idea to do the music video, but it was kind of a given since we had a single coming out.

[gestures to Oscar’s Yankees jacket]

Do you follow baseball?

OS: No. I do not, but I do love the iconography, and I like the fashion of it.

I also noticed you wear a lot of Mickey Mouse stuff. Is that something that has significance to you?

OS: I just like playing around with pop culture iconography. I think it’s like pop art; it’s fun, and it’s instant, it’s a good time. The first video game I played (which I wasn’t supposed to play, I wasn’t allowed video games growing up), but when my mom and dad split up, my dad had a Playstation, so I would secretly play that. And I played Steamboat Willie, so maybe there’s some deep connection there. There are some things you need to remember and hold dear.

What are your favorite places in London to listen to music?

OS: That’s a good question. I think on the bus and the train are really good places to listen to music. Often, if I’m halfway between finishing a track or making a demo, I’ll stop and go for a walk or go see a friend, and use that journey to passively listen to something, because it does change the context of everything and makes you realize, “Oh, maybe I should change the key of it, or it needs to be faster”. So I think transport is good, public transport. I also think listening to music in the park is really nice, because it’s sunny (it never is). And at home in my bedroom is probably my favorite place, because you can listen to it loud. And maybe dance around a bit. Or a lot.

Are there any venues or club nights you like? Where should I go when I’m in London?

OS: Village Underground is great. It’s quite a big one, it’s like 800-900 capacity, that’s really good. If you’re looking for a dive bar vibe, then somewhere like Moth Club or the 100 Club is pretty good. The Lexington is a nice one too, if you want to drink and they have really good gigs upstairs.

Do you have any last words before going onstage tonight?

OS: Blimey. I don’t think so.

Don’t trip when you go up the stairs to get onto the stage.

OS: Don’t do that, enjoy yourself, not that I have to tell myself that because it’s always so much fun.

BEVERLY GOES BIG
February 8, 2016 12:24 pm

Beverly killed it again on Friday, this time for a packed crowd at Baby’s All Right in Brooklyn. ATYPICAL SOUNDS scored some quality time before the show with vocalist/guitarist Drew Citron and guitarist Scott Rosenthal to find out why 2016 will be their most exciting year yet.

You just released the video for “Victoria,” the second single off your new album, which was co-written by Kip Berman from The Pains of Being Pure at Heart. Can you talk a little bit about…

Scott sneaks over.

SR: Sorry, don’t mind me.

DC: Come talk in the recording machine.

How are you doing tonight?

SR: We’re playing a show, I play guitar. What are you doing tonight?

Interviewing you guys. Anyway, “Victoria” was co-written by Kip.

DC: It was fun because it was kind of the same way master sculptors take a block of marble and chip away and the sculpture reveals itself. Kip gave us something that was pretty much done, and then we chipped away at it, and started over and over. It was a process of elimination to make the song something that we liked. It was really fun, ’cause we never work like that. The parts that were something we could get behind as we chipped away to create something that was from us. It was a real collaboration.

How do you usually write? Do you jam together, or do each of you work alone?

DC: Noooooo we never jam! We jam a lot. We play Everly Brothers songs together and sing and mess around and do covers all the time. I think for writing, we’re very solitary and you have to develop in your incubator by yourself. I’ll write a melody and a chord progression and be really excited about it and then we’ll finish it together. It’s a solitary thing, I think.

What are your favorite songs to cover?

DC: We’re doing a special cover tonight, which you’ll find out about later.

SR: We’re using two drummers, which is something that we’ve always fantasized about.

DC: I’m really obsessed with The Concert for Bangladesh, the George Harrison performance with two drummers. It’s the best video on the internet besides Bed Intruder. And I want to make that happen tonight.

SR: The song we’re doing is like an unfinished demo, or it sounds to my ears like an unfinished demo. It kind of runs together, or maybe it’s just intended to sound that way. I’m really excited cause I’ve never played drums with another drummer before. We did it in rehearsal and I expected it to be a nightmare, but it was so easy and it sounded so good.

What can you tell me about your new album?

DC: I really like it. I’m really proud of it, I’m really proud of the new songs. It sounds great, we worked our asses off.

SR: There are certain properties of records that happen before you know how to make a record. You go in with some producer, and lay down parts to a click track. And at the end of recording, you’re like “Oh, it doesn’t sound as crazy or as serious as I hoped it would.” But after you’ve failed a couple of times, you start to pick up on these very subtle things that are absolutely crucial to preserve if you want a great record at the end.

And you gain technical skills as well.

SR: Exactly. There are certain things that you do really need to concentrate on and edit from a technical standpoint. And it’s crucial; the more you do, the better your record gets. Certain other elements, like the more you work on it and the more you edit it, the way you compress it, the worse your record gets. So I think the art of producing is figuring out what is making a record worse and what’s making it better, and when we listen to this record, we thought we preserved almost all of what made it special and none of what had been sloppy.

 

Does [founding member] Frankie Rose still have any input in the band?

DC: No, she and I started the project together and she left before we started touring. So she’s not involved at all, although we wrote the first album together.

After this, you’re going to SXSW and then Europe.

DC: I know, I’m so excited.

Is this your first time at SXSW?

DC: No, it’s my millionth time, but it’s my first time with Beverly so I’m really excited. Our live lineup sounds great right now and I feel really proud to show what we have going on, as you may see tonight.

IMG_5586What are your favorite venues in Austin?

DC: I think the new Cheer Up Charlie’s is really awesome. I went two years ago when they moved it to more in the center of town. There’s an outdoor stage that has this really beautiful backdrop, with lights that are kind of projected on this white rock. It’s a beautiful stage, and the inside sounds really good too.

And then you’re going to Manchester, Paris, and Brussels?

DC: Yeah, we’re doing a little bit of a European tour.

You’ll have to report back on what exactly is in Brussels besides waffles, chocolate, and jewelry.

DC: I’ve never done anything in Belgium besides go into a venue and sit in the green room, and then play a show. I don’t know what happens there. I walked to get a croissant, I think. It felt like France. I mean, you go on tour and you really only see the venue, and then you go to a restaurant that they recommend. So there’s not a lot of downtime, you’re just driving around and playing shows.

SR: What happens is, the van is your life. Like you’re in the van and you get deeply, emotionally involved with podcasts or a playlist. You get involved with Serial, or This American Life, or Snap Judgement and that’s it, basically.

DC: We had a good time on our last tour of London, because we kind of had a home base. We have good friends there, so it was fun.

SR: It was nice. And the one thing we did that could be useful information for other bands, is that everyone gets a tour manager when you go to Europe, or especially England because everyone drives on the left side of the road. But once you drive on the left side of the road for more than 20 minutes, it’s so easy and intuitive.

DC: We kind of bossed it on this last tour, because you usually waste so much money just getting someone who can drive you and manage the tour. I mean, I toured before there was wifi everywhere, so you needed someone who knew what they were doing, but you don’t need that anymore. You can Google Map it, and you’re fine. We drove through a serious snowstorm on the M1 outside of Glasgow in the middle of the night, and I was freaking out. And that wasn’t cool, I would’ve preferred to have a driver. Other than that, we kind of nailed it.

You’re originally from San Francisco, right? Scott, are you from here?

SR: I’m from New Jersey, in Bergen County.

Drew, did you move to New York to be a musician, or was it for school?

DC: I moved to New York for school, and I just stayed. I went to NYU and studied Experimental Theater.

What did you do for your thesis?

DC: My senior thesis was a show that I wrote about Rembrandt. It was a musical, called Rembrandt the Musical. I wrote all the music and I choreographed it, and it was a masterpiece.

…You graduated, right?

DC: Barely. I had to convince them that my show was drawing on the things I had learned and the texts we had studied. And I was like, “It’s like Charles Ludlam and the Theater of the Ridiculous.” I had to go to meetings to convince them that it was ok to do this, and have it be applicable toward me graduating. It worked, I conned my way to having the time of my life with my best friends.

Scott, what did you study?

SR: I studied music, but I bounced around between a couple of different schools. Finally, I ended up at NYU. I did a semester in London at Goldsmiths University and that was really amazing. I went there because my favorite guitarist is Graham Coxon from Blur. He’s the best. So basically I went there because I was like, “Well if he went there, then I should go there too.” Then, I met my best friend there, because he went there for the exact same reason.

Are your parents musical? Drew, I know you were taught to play guitar by your dad.

DC: My parents do actually play in a band together, they do Eagles covers and the like. I can’t wait to play in a band when I’m 65.

What can your fans expect from you in the next couple of months?

DC: I’m hoping that people will hear the new record, and love it as much as I do. I hope that it connects to at least one person.

SWIM DEEP LOOKS ON THE BRIGHT SIDE
December 4, 2015 2:50 pm

Swim Deep is having a small disaster. The Birmingham band arrived in New York a day ago, but Virgin Atlantic is holding their gear hostage somewhere in Newark. The night’s planned performance has been turned into a DJ set, and the band is trying to make the best of the situation.

ATYPICAL SOUNDS sat down in the green room at Baby’s All Right with band members Austin Williams, Zach Robinson, and Cavan McCarthy to try and figure out how to make lemonade from an incompetent-ass airline.

smashfdgj

It’s been raining for two days. I think it was waiting for you to come in from England so you’d feel at home.

AW: Everyone said that when we got here. They said, “You’ve brought it with you.” Sorry

You brought your weather and left your gear.

AW: We’ve had such bad luck. But it’ll be fine.

On the bright side, your album was voted one of the top albums of 2015 by NME. Congratulations, that’s pretty good.

AW: Thanks very much. We’re lucky, yeah.

Tomorrow you start your tour with The 1975. You’ve toured with them in the past, right?

AW: It was like two years ago in Europe.

ZR: We’ve done a few shows in the UK with them,

AW: They’re nice guys. They’re quite grounded. They’re well-mannered, and just good people. They’ve come from the bottom as well, which is great. They’ve worked their way up. It’s inspiring.

Are you looking forward to doing anything in the city while you’re here?

AW: We did a lot today, cause when we found out that our stuff wasn’t gonna get in until [we thought] we could play, we decided that we would just go and look at stuff like tourists.

CM: We went to see the 9/11 memorial.

AW: We just walked for ages uptown, and then went to see the [site of the] Physical Graffiti album by Led Zeppelin. We went to the East Village and that area, and then it started raining so we went back to our friend’s. We’ve been here before.

smashIn 2013.

AW: Yeah, and then I came here last year. It’s nice, it feels a lot more familiar now. It’s such an amazing place, I think.

It’s fun.

AW: It seems fun, I wish I could stay longer.

Were you working when you were here last year?

AW: No, I just came on my own with a few friends for a holiday.

I’m glad you’re back. I remember the first time you were here in 2013, and a lot of the time, we get these bands from the U.K. who come here once and then we never see them again.

AW: Well, it’s money isn’t it? The thing that’s disappointing about tonight, is we may not have another chance to come out here for so long now. We can really only do this show, because we’re supporting The 1975.

And tomorrow you’re in Boston.

AW: Yeah, and then we play in New York on the day after that at Terminal 5. So at least we get to play here and I guess some of our fans, we share some of the same fans, will get to see us. It’s a shame, you know, cause musicians don’t get any money, so it’s hard to travel so much.

I bet you could get Virgin Atlantic to fund another trip out here.

ZR: Hopefully, we can.

AW: We can get our fans to tweet them.

I will gladly badmouth them on social media in support of that. I remember around the time your first album came out (Where the Heaven Are We in 2013), journalists in England started talking about a “B-Town” music scene, centered in Birmingham. Mainly, I think it was just you and (fellow Birmingham band) Peace that had become popular around the same time. Do you think there’s any truth to there being a B-Town scene, or is that sort of just hype that had been floating around the internet?

AW: As soon as the journalists put pen to paper, the scene’s over. So as soon as they name something, it’s over. But in terms of before that, yeah definitely. We were just mates, hanging out, drinking, trying to have as much fun as possible in the city. And then we all started bands, and started playing stuff, and then it was us and the band Peace that got attention, so I guess they wanted to get something out of it. There wasn’t much going on in music, I guess. I mean there was, but there wasn’t any “scene” or whatever.

Birmingham’s such a good place for music, because the people that go and see shows there are so enthusiastic and lively. They give so much to the band when they go and see them. It’s a great place.

I’m actually interviewing your friends in Spector tomorrow night. What should I ask them?

AW: Ask them who their favorite member of Swim Deep is.

That’s good. Fred Macpherson [vocalist of Spector] was in your “Namaste” video, as well. Was his appearance a result of you being friends?

AW: One, he’s in a band and people know who he is. And two, he’s our friend. Also, we just thought it would be really funny. We have this panel of contestants, and we were trying to think, “Who looks like they could be on a game show?” Fred seemed perfect for it. We needed like one guy, the weird guy. It was a good day, [shooting] that video.

I know shooting can be a lot of long hours.

AW: I hate music videos. I hate the experience most of the time. But there’s been some really great times, like when we got to go to LA to shoot one, and we got to come here to New York to shoot one.

Which one was shot in New York?

AW: “She Changes the Weather”

The one with the swimming pool?

AW: It was a Jewish center in Brooklyn that the swimming pool was in. And we spent ages there. There was such a funny lifeguard there, who said he never had to get in the water, and we were all laughing about it and teasing him because he was such a guy you could tease. He was so in his own world. And he said, “I never get in the water, because I just never needed to.” And then I think someone did something, so he had to go in the water with one of those things that go up and down. And he moaned about it so much. He said he didn’t bring a change of clothes to work. That was fun. That was a fun day.

A lot of people who have interviewed you have mentioned that there’s such a big difference between the sound of the first and second albums. Have you thought about a third album yet? What bands are you currently listening to?

AW: I’m listening to a lot more stuff, just constantly. A much broader selection. I’ve definitely thought about a third album, but I think it’s going to come at a time when it’s right for us. We’ve got to think about when we want to get together.

ZR: We’re so excited to get started.

AW: It will come when it’s ready. We’re letting all of our stuff bubble, letting all of our influences marinate and do whatever, and then we come together and think about it properly. I’d like it to be something that can headline festivals. Something that can really make an impact. Something that means something to people. Something we can play at 12 o’clock on a Monday at a festival.

Who plays at noon on a Monday? 

ZR: We do. From 12-12. We have some festival dates coming up.

AW: I can’t wait. I want to start writing now, just speaking to it.

If you want something that sounds good at a festival, I guess it would be something really loud, right?

AW: Something that makes people listen to it. This last album, there are some tracks on it that really demand your attention, but I feel like the next one is going to be…it’s really going to demand it. Hopefully.

smash12Do you know where you’re touring yet?

AW: We’re looking to do secondary places in England that we haven’t really done before, like the smaller towns and stuff.

CM: The Firefly Festival in Delaware.

What are your plans for the holidays?

ZR: We all go back to Birmingham.

AW: Go see our families. I haven’t seen my family in so long.

Do any of you still live in Birmingham?

AW: Zach and I live in London.

[Cavan is in the middle of taking a sip of beer and gestures to himself.]

You do?

CM: [Nods] the best time of year in Birmingham is Christmas because everyone comes home. All of our friends.

Do you have any last words before your set tonight?

CM: Keep music alive.

AW: Sorry. And fuck Virgin Airlines.

Yes, fuck them.

AW: And see you next time.

THE WOMBATS HAVE LANDED AT TERMINAL 5
November 30, 2015 12:22 am

Let’s talk about last Tuesday night. The Wombats played Terminal 5. The honor of being able to make that statement has been a long time coming. The U.K.-based trio has been around since 2007, and has toured the U.S. extensively over the last couple of years, but until this night they hadn’t played a New York venue larger than Webster Hall.

American fans of British bands are often spoiled when it comes to touring stateside; it’s not uncommon for bands with top billing at festivals like Reading and Leeds to perform in New York at places like Mercury Lounge (capacity 250 people) or Baby’s All Right (280 people). In fact, The Wombats did play at Mercury Lounge earlier this year. Being able to see such great bands in such small venues can sometimes make fans wish the bands would stay “small” forever, but as the saying goes, “If you love something, let it go to Terminal 5.” And, for the record, the venue was packed.

wombats

Photo by Sasha Maese

The first to perform on Tuesday was the Brooklyn-based POP ETC. The band has toured throughout the U.S. and Japan, and has performed with bands including Death Cab for Cutie, The Kooks, and X Japan. However, according to Spotify, they are most well known for their song “Speak Up”, from the Twilight film Breaking Dawn – part 2. That’s got to be frustrating. Regardless, their dynamic performance was well received by the audience. They performed songs from their upcoming LP Souvenir, as well as recent singles “Bad Break” and “Running in Circles”.

Royal Teeth was next, a five-piece band from Louisiana. They burst onto the stage dancing, with enough energy for every last person in the audience. If they were feeling celebratory, it’s with good reason; earlier this year, the group signed with Elektra records and are releasing their major-label debut in 2016.

Their set included a cover of the song “Heartbeats,” originally by The Knife, as well as their own songs “Mais La” and “Wild.” A cursory search through Wikipedia revealed that “Wild” has already been featured in ads for the Samsung Galaxy S5 and Buick Verano, State Farm, Bose, American Eagle, Metro AG, The Voice, 90210, ESPN, TLC, PBS, Yahoo, and Fox. Not bad for an indie band.

wombats

Photo by Sasha Maese

When “Just Like Heaven” finally begins to play over the venue’s PA system, the audience knows it’s nearly time for The Wombats. They open with “Give Me a Try”, a song that’s in stark contrast to anything performed by the night’s two previous bands; “We could be gigantic/ Everything I need/ Vicodin on Sunday nights/ This could be worth the risk/ Worth the guarantee/ This could be the drug that does’t bite/ Just give me a try,” sings Matthew Murphy. This is followed by songs about one night stands (“Jump Into The Fog”), insomnia (“Moving to New York”) and longing for an adolescence that wasn’t all that great (“1996”).

It’s not that the first two bands to play on Tuesday weren’t great, it’s that they’re just so…clean. Nearly all songs by The Wombats share a feeling of alienation, of trying to fit in to a world that just doesn’t get you. Murphy often writes from his own experiences with depression, and it’s this approach to the creation of their songs that make them so relatable to people that have a hard time relating in general.

About halfway through the set, Murphy shares a story about the song “Pink Lemonade.” The writing of it involved drinking alone in Barcelona, and convincing himself that his girlfriend was sleeping with a random acquaintance. They beauty of it all is that as nuts as their lyrics can be, or the strange evolution of their songs, the audience knew every word. And they danced. And it was awesome.

The show closed the way all Wombats shows close; with “Let’s Dance to Joy Division.” It was the band’s first single, released in 2007, and probably their most beloved song. It remains the perfect encapsulation of the band’s ethos, “Let’s dance to Joy Division/ And raise our glass to the ceiling/ ‘Cause this could all go so wrong/ But we’re so happy.” Even after the band left the stage, that feeling was underscored with “You Can Call Me Al” playing from the PA system, and the audience continuing to dance until Paul Simon sang his last note.

wombats

Photo by Sasha Maese

VICTORIA REED CHARMS BROOKLYN
November 18, 2015 8:00 am

11879282_915512138498784_387818074703786107_oThe weather in New York hasn’t quite made up it’s mind about whether it’s fall or winter yet (Is it even supposed to be this warm?) Luckily for us, Victoria Reed made Baby’s All Right an enchanting evening full of surprises. Detroit-bred Victoria Reed made her NYC debut performance in the heart of Williamsburg, charming the crowd with her calm and soothing voice, very similar to that of Norah Jones. She expresses her heartbroken love stories to the crowd and puts them in a song in the most beautifully sweet and mellow way. She’s basically Brooklyn’s underground Taylor Swift. She emanates the perfect after-work, chill vibe and the crowd seemed more than pleased to encounter this chic musician in fashionable white cowboy boots perform in one of Brooklyn’s most loved venues.
The city is full of surprises when it comes to underground musicians waiting to be discovered. It’s no doubt that Victoria Reed will capture your hearts and reminisce about those past (or current) relationships that you’ve had. Her debut album Chariot being released on February 26th next year will make you want to sit by the fireplace under a blanket with a hot cocoa in hand, which I’m sure will satisfy all of our cravings during that time of year anyway. Go do your ears a favor and give her a listen.

DILLY DALLY SETS BABY’S ON FIRE
November 16, 2015 8:23 am

For the past few weeks, Dilly Dally has been touring the U.S., leaving a trail of death and destruction in their wake. Well, maybe not death and destruction, but the band did put on a hell of a show at Baby’s All Right on Saturday.

Dilly Dally is the work of childhood friends Katie Monks and Liz Ball, who met while attending high school in Toronto. They bonded over their mutual love of the Pixies, Christopher Owens, Pete Doherty, and Kurt Cobain. However, my gut reaction upon listening to their debut LP Sore, is that Monks and Ball are spiritual successors to feminist hardcore punk bands like Hole and Babes in Toyland, with their songs covering topics that include menstruation and self-reinvention after heartbreak.

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dillydalllSigns posted outside the venue warned attendees that video recording would be taking place at the show. They weren’t kidding. A video production team had set up camp directly in front of the stage, flanked by journalists and photographers, in all likelihood to the dismay of the audience (sorry). However, it’s no surprise there was so much press in attendance; Dilly Dally has already been featured in publications including Pitchfork, Consequence of Sound, Stereogum, and Rolling Stone. And judging by the reaction of the audience, the band will not be slowing down anytime soon.

Saturday’s concert was sold out, and the venue was packed. This didn’t stop the crowd from dancing and, in one case, crowdsurfing. The guy with the video camera got shoved a couple of times. The passion with which Monks and Ball deliver their work is palpable, each one breaking a sweat early on in the show, and (along with the audience), eventually becoming drenched by the end of it.

The climax of the night came during the band’s performance of “Desire”, a song whose chorus is delivered in a gloriously lingering battle cry of repressed emotion. It’s a sound contemporary music hasn’t heard in way too long, and already I’m having fantasies about Dilly Dally beating the crap out of the excessively made-up artists whose overly produced nonsense is currently passed for popular music. It’s going to be awesome.

Blown Away By Allie X
September 17, 2015 11:16 am

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Allie X, I’m your bitch! Hey, that’s how the song goes… But seriously, the Beasts had the privilege to see this rising star from Toronto perform her set at Baby’s All Right in Brooklyn last night, and we were truly blown away. The dark pop princess brings a stellar performance, with elements of art and fashion intertwined. Behind those shades lies a girl on the precipice of something Xtraordinary.

Don’t let the pop label fool you. Allie is a classically trained pianist, and her background is clearly present in her sophisticated compositions and arrangements. Her lyrics speak to a generation that has been disillusioned by the rapid disintegration of social norms, from sexuality to drug use, but does so in an empowering way. It’s a high form of art disguised as commercial.

She began writing songs as ‘Allie Hughes’ back in 2006 and just recently released her first EP as Allie X in April. The move notes a culmination of a journey that has taken her from humble Canadian roots to the glamour of Los Angeles, where she works professionally as a songwriter. Though the road has been long, the journey has just begun.

The packed house and roaring applause was just a small indication of the fate of this sensational performer. Expect big things from Allie X and if ever she passes through your town, be sure to check her out. You will be blown away, I promise.

Sea of Bees Swarm Brooklyn
July 15, 2015 7:09 pm

Baby’s All Right was buzzing this past Monday with the indie folk rock of Sacramento’s Sea of Bees. Julie Ann Bee and her mesmerizing sidekick Amber brought some California cool to the room with their laid back presence, heart filled harmonies, and lyrics that will turn you inside out. The soft tension in their progressions seemed to have been pulled down straight from the aether. One word in particular came to mind as I took it all in; real. Julie’s ensemble had no superficial facade – no constructed image. They were simply real musicians, making
real music, and making us all really happy. Maybe it was the mid set story about the penis museum in Iceland that did it…

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After moving to Sacramento from the suburbs to pursue art, Julie began Sea of Bees as a solo project for friends, 40’s, and house parties. “It kinda just happened naturally,” she said. “One day I just came out and said ‘I’m the Sea of Bees.’ There wasn’t too much thinking about it. It just kinda happened.” After a bit of a serendipity meeting and befriending publisher of Tape-op magazine (her future manager) John Baccigaluppi, John hooked Julie up with Amber, Sea of Bees recorded their first EP and the journey began. Two albums and a trans Atlantic tour later, Sea of Bees find themselves in Brooklyn once again in support of their new album Build a Boat to the Sun which you can stream for free here.

During my short conversation with Julie about California, life, and how it all happened, I was able to get some insight for our beasts.

Do you think your sound reflects where you came from?

I like to think so… I don’t know… I think my goal is just making people happy. I don’t even know if I’m so focused on what it is or what my sound is, I just want happiness for people. When you think about it, life is so dull, you know… You’re living and you’re dying but when you see the bits of goodness in people, It just makes me happy.”

The moments that make life worth living kinda thing…

Exactly, it makes it worth everything… To keep going, to love, to be loved, art, music. It makes everything worth everything… Does that make sense?” (laughs)

After seeing the show later on, It made perfect sense. Sea of Bees surely has a bright and happy future ahead of them. Be sure to catch them Wednesday July 22 at The Living Room in Brooklyn for another great show and a taste of that honey.

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Porcelain Raft: The Half Awake EP Release Party
June 30, 2015 10:30 am

Friday night saw the crowd at Baby’s All Right welcome the release of Half Awake, the new EP from Porcelain Raft that came out earlier this month. Porcelain Raft is the solo project of Italian-born Mauro Remiddi, who recently launched his own record label, Volcanic Field. As if both of those accomplishments weren’t enough reason to celebrate, the audience was already in high spirits from that morning’s Supreme Court ruling making same-sex marriage a right nationwide, a feat that was proudly announced onstage by a majority of the night’s performers and was met with cheers each time.

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Half Awake is a superb addition to Remiddi’s already extensive catalog; this being his 10th EP and the follow-up to his full-length 2013 album Permanent Signal. The night’s set consisted mainly of tracks from the new EP plus Permanent Signal, and his 2012 album Strange Weekend.

The sound of Porcelain Raft is hard to fully articulate. It’s a unique amalgamation of ambient pop, shoegaze, and something that sounds a bit like early Jesus and Mary Chain, and Half Awake is no exception. It’s miles and miles of dreamy reverb, led by an androgynous-voiced angel. “Love Chain” stands out as the most pop-oriented track on the EP, following a more traditional song structure and featuring a chorus that quietly demands you sing along.

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Remiddi is most well known for his poppier singles, including “The Way Out” and “Cluster”, which are both fantastic tracks. But to focus only on his bigger releases would be to miss out on the genius of his experimental nature. His setup onstage consists of a microphone, guitar, a series of synthesizers, a keyboard, and some effects pedals. He creates the music from scratch right in front of the audience, allowing them to become part of his creative process.

During his set, Remiddi also performs a couple of “acoustic” songs, e.g. songs he performs using only vocals and his electric guitar with no added effects. While singing, he steps away from the mic, still playing, but using only the natural amplification of his voice to carry his lyrics across the crowd. It’s a beautiful moment, and stands as testament to his natural ability as a performer. The show ends with Echo, which is left to loop when Remiddi disappears backstage. The audience soaks up these last moments, staring off into the smoke and colored lights on an otherwise empty stage.

Listen: “Love Chain” from Half Awake EP

Great Good Fine Ok Dances the Night Away
June 29, 2015 4:37 pm

I first stumbled upon Great Good Fine Ok last year at Brooklyn Bowl after getting hooked up with a free pair of tickets. Having no idea who they were I didn’t have any expectations, but I was pleasantly surprised with their upbeat pop dance tunes that I haven’t been able to find in any other band lately. I was introduced to a glamorous robe with golden sequins all over it and my eyes were fixed on that for the most part. Speaking with Jon Sandler from the band last week, I started to appreciate his love for kimonos after he let me in on his journey to find the best vintage stores in the nation. The more I spoke with him and dug out information about GGFO my curiosity grew even bigger and I had high expectations for their show at Baby’s All Right.

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This time around, the crowd was greeted with a turquoise sequined robe which clearly stated that he was ready to party. The room got hot pretty fast and Jon described how it felt like we were in a bikram yoga class. Nevertheless, the band members continued the show with their long sleeves and cared more about putting on a great show.

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Even though the stage was pretty small and limiting for all four band members, they managed to project their energy by dancing and banging on glowing drum sticks. The crowd sang along and danced together, clearly not getting enough of their music. They finished their show with an epic Diamond Body pose which I can see getting popular among fans in the near future.

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