Baby’s Alright

THE SOULFUL FLOW OF FRAZEY FORD
November 25, 2015 8:49 am

In all sincerity, sometimes I just want to listen to a song and sway in the middle of an open field. There are very few open fields in New York City, so improvisation and make-believe might be necessary for this exercise, but as long as that root feeling is there, you need to satiate it correctly. Finding the perfect music to unwind to in peace is as delicate as doing one of those sailboats in a bottle things that everyone’s grandpa has at least three of for some reason. So let Frazey Ford be the captain of the SS Field Sway. You will not be disappointed.

Ford’s smooth and soulful voice rides through each track effortlessly. On “Done,” her single from her most recent release Indian Ocean, the heartfelt lyrics about her finally giving up on a terrible relationship can resonate with everyone. The straightforwardness of a line like “you spend all of your time trying to place your blame, and I’m done” gets straight to the heart of the issue. And when I’m field swaying, I want my emotions to be out there in the open.

Indian Ocean is filled with songs of great weightlessness, showcasing Ford’s gift to let the moment adjust to her pace, instead of chasing after anything. Natural Law is an interesting example of her adept tempo control. The verse has a steady progression in melody, along with horns being introduced, but it rises and falls gracefully throughout. Nothing blares, or overstays its welcome. Each layer is chosen to have its own moment in perfect fashion.

So the next time you need a field of earnest and carefree vibes, let Frazey Ford take you away. You’ll be in the warm, gentle hands of a wonderful songstress. I mean this metaphorically, of course, I have no idea what her actual hands feel like. Enjoy!

SHOCKED BY SHOCKING PINKS
November 2, 2015 8:47 pm

The Shocking Pinks, musical project of New Zealand’s Nick Harte, put on quite the show this Halloweekend at Baby’s All Right. I say that because two days later, I am still really unsure of how to digest it.

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This is not to say I had any complaints at all- it was easily the best show I had been to in months. The entire crowd was dancing to wordless, funky, electronic indie beats while Harte managed to deliver an electrifying performance- not once turning to face the audience. The supporting band had stunning chemistry and amazing musical prowess, evident in some particularly impressive drum solos (and don’t roll your eyes at the term “drum solo” because they really were great). What confused me was this was not what I expected from the show (see below).

I listened to Shocking Pinks on Spotify beforehand. I was immediately attracted to their sad indie downer vibes and fell in love with the melodies and lyrics. But the show that I ended up going to was of an indie, guitar-based, IDM esque band. The sound presented live was so different than what I heard online that at the end of their set I asked when the Shocking Pinks would be performing. Eventually I got my answer.

22104385934_9996ed33a8_kThe story of the latest Shocking Pinks album is that Harte composed it and recorded it all in his bedroom, with the windows blacked out, in New Zealand after a particularly devastating earthquake and a particularly devastating break up. Guilt Mirrors is a triple LP all about Harte’s world falling apart. It is seven years after the self titled Shocking Pinks album, and is vastly different in spirit. “Double Vision Version,” “What’s Up With That Girl” and “Glass Slippers” are dancey downers, almost fitting into a noisey shoe-gaze outline. These tracks are very different, but a natural progression, from the lo-fi bedroom songs on Shocking Pinks. Because of the dense amount of music on their triple LP, the Shocking Pinks can present themselves differently and prepare live sets to reflect the many different sides of the music and this is why they sounded so different from the band I had listened to online.

For a band that is fronted by a genius recluse from the other side of the world, they were extremely comfortable on the New York City stage. The crowd was literally begging for more- maybe because of the way one song flowed into another, or maybe because Harte never faced the audience. I kept waiting for him to turn around so the show could “begin”, but the set just flew by without any acknowledgement from Harte and left me dazzled and dazed. Set highlights included “Translation,” “Double Vision Version” and the band’s last release “Nostalgia”. Check them out below!

Written by Alessandra Licul 

LITTLE RACER GIVES US A RUN FOR OUR MONEY
July 31, 2015 3:09 pm

Little Racer gives all the shoe-gaze, dreamy, surf rock bands of Brooklyn a run for their money. I saw the guys perform recently at our mutually favorite venue Baby’s All Right and instantly fell in love with their alternative, beachy vibe. We sat down after the show and these guys are just as cool as their music would lead you to believe.

little_racer_2How did you get started in music? 

Elliot: I started playing music in a band in high school and went to Berklee where we met. The band officially started after that when we signed with Paper Cup

Ish: I’m from Queens, New York… Hollis and Jamaica. With 50 cent and Run DMC, hip hop has influenced a lot of what I’ve done with my life. Actually thats not even true; A better way to say it is, I wish hip hop influenced more of my life.

Elliot: I’m from Wisconsin so you can kind of hear that beach lifestyle. It’s really laid back there and coming out here was a big switch. What Racer is about is mixing that high energy New York lifestyle with a more laid back earth centered view.

If you were on a desert island and could only listen to one band, who would it be?

Elliot: You’re gonna go pop music?

Ish: I’m not! I’m going to go with Ottis Redding!

Why is that?

Ish: Something about him, if you listen to an Ottis record at night or a Sunday morning, it just kills you. That’s the most emotion I’ve ever felt, that guy crushes me. If I’m alone on a desert island, that would make me feel at least some emotions.

Elliot: I was going to say something along the same lines but totally different, not a lot of people know this guy but Antonio Carlos Jobim. He’s a brazilian artists from the 60s who did bossanova and he’s done so many songs you would know. These are songs I could listen to the rest of my life! He’s so classy and so cool. Girl From Ipanema is his whole vibe. “Split For the Coast,” our song is totally Jobim.

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What era of music would you go back to?

Both: Late 60s!

Elliot: Rock and roll was young babe! Everything was new and fresh. That’s when rock was happening.

Ish: Every cool new thing that happened in rock and roll happened right then. That’s such a dad rock thing to say out loud but I don’t even care. Nobody gave a fuck! They were all such weirdos, Lou Reed, Bowie.

Elliot: Everyone was on fire, it was the social message of the time! There was no social media, rock and roll was the message.

Ish: We totally agree on that, there are more than a few reasons we are in a band together.

Who would you dream of co-headlining a tour with?

Ish: oof

Elliot: Can we sidebar for a second? Can we pick a huge name?

Ish: The band I dream of touring with is Spoon.

Elliot: You think spoon is big? I’m going with even bigger.

Ish: Spoon is a million times bigger than what were doing right now.

Elliot: If you’re gonna go big you gotta go big, I’m going to supplant Coldplay and undermine all their fans. Anyone who listens to Coldplay should buy three of our records. Not even hating, they appeal to such a wide audience there is a sector of their audience that would really love what we do. I’m coming for you Chris Martin!

Where does your band name come from?

Elliot: It’s a Beach Boys reference, kinda speaks to our vibe.

Ish: Back then, all we were listening to was the Beach Boys so it’s a huge reference for our band.

What is your favorite spot to play a show?

Ish: Our favorite city to play is Savannah, Georgia. It’s the TOWN. There are ghosts everywhere!

Elliot: Those ghosts love music.

Ish: We played a packed show at 4 pm and for the rest of the night people were coming up to us and complimenting us and it was so fun to be in a town that loved music.

Elliot: Not that people don’t love music here but everyone is so inundated with it. If we had to pick a New York venue, Baby’s Alright for sure. I love it. There’s no other venue that matches the charm.

Ish: The backdrop is insane too, it’s all old ashtrays from Pianos.

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What was the weirdest gig you’ve ever played?

Ish: There were some weird ones in London.

Elliot: The weirdest one we ever played was a billiards and darts place in Georgia.

Ish: It’s important that you know it was darts night.

Elliot: Lets just say the dart stage was right in front of the musical stage so there was a large amount of people throwing things at our faces.

Ish: And directly 90 degrees from the stage was a dart throwing line so no one was facing us. Everyone was there for the darts.

Elliot: They were all wearing like jingo jeans from 1999 so they had seen some shit and indie rock was not what they were about. Those guys were like going to go out build a house or something at like 5 in the morning so no hate- we definitely appreciate their working lifestyle.

Little Racer is currently working on a full length LP and have a September tour planned. They are not yet sure where they are going but they “just want to get out there”. They have several spotify releases, and you should definitely listen to their tracks “Jack Knife” and “Dancing” which are personal favorites of the Atypical Beasts.

Written by Alessandra Licul 

Hippo Campus Kills Baby’s Alright
June 22, 2015 4:00 pm

Hippo Campus is a new indie pop/rock 4-piece that is stealing the hearts of girls in every city they play. Thursday night at Baby’s Alright I checked out the band and talked to the boys after the show and they are every bit as adorable as their set would have you believe- with the musical chops to back it up.

The band hails from Minnesota and has been on a rigorous tour schedule all year. Their stop in New York was to a jam packed room. They played hits off their last album Bashful Creatures like “Little Grace” and “Suicide Saturday” in addition to lots of newer and dare I say, slightly heavier, material. The songs on Bashful Creatures remind me of an early Vampire Weekend. Both bands have polished and urbane lyrics, coupled with fast and fussy guitar lines to get your heart rate up. Their band name itself is even a high-brow academic reference to the part of the brain associated with your long term memories, something Ezra Koenig and Rostam Batmanglij would appreciate. Their lyrics are sophisticated while also telling to the intrinsically jealous, passionate and sometimes idiotic nature of the teenage boy brain. “I cannot tell what you claim to see, that your heart is black and mine is so green” is the opening line for their song Little Grace, and lead vocalist Jake delivers it with swoon-worthy sincerity.

Their arrangements are fun without being “fun”; catchy melodies supported with funky, solid, bass and drum grooves. The band has also nailed their live performance with coordinated dance moves and witty banter with the audience. Be sure to check them out coming to a city near you on their ongoing tour.

ARTIST OF THE MONTH: HONDURAS
May 31, 2015 6:41 pm

If you’ve been to see a hard rock show in the last month, Honduras has probably opened it. The Brooklyn based quartet has recently opened for Metz, Fidlar, Sunflower Bean, Twin Peaks and Blurr. Honduras seems to be playing a new show before you can even sign on to Twitter and hear about it. Perfectly blending surf and indie rock with punk, vocalist Pat Philips calls on the ghosts of little anarchists such as The Ramones or The Sex Pistols.

In textbook punk rock fashion, the Brooklyn based band (by ways of Missouri), doesn’t have much of a musical background other than just playing guitar “because there was one around my friends’ house and I fell in love” says guitarist Tyson Moore.

Pat and Tyson have been writing songs together for ten years. “Maybe it was weird collaborating when we first started out but I don’t remember, we always agree,” Tyson jokes. They have some unexpected influences considering the spirited anarchism in their music, citing Tom Petty and Wilco. Pat even went through a hip-hop, free style rap phase in adolescence. Clearly being in NYC has distinctively shaped their current sound. “I didn’t go through a true punk rock phase until I lived here” Pat says, “that’s when I got into Lou Reed, the history of CBGB and all that shit.”

“I think Pat is really good at pushing personality through in his vocals, which makes it unique and easy to get into” Tyson remarks. “A lot of bands get stale to me because of their vocals”. When writing together “Pat will usually come to me with a basic idea, and we’ll sit in my room and make a shitty ProTools demo with fake drums just to shape it and get a better idea what it sounds like” Tyson says. “When we first started out, chillwave and MGMT were really big, so we have been holding on for a return to guitar and bass music.”

Their track “Ace” is the perfect anthem for this comeback. The song could almost pass for a high-strung surf rock tune until you hear “destroy” shouted over and over again, with angst, to really drive the point home. The song, while wearing a mask of screaming bravado, is really just about personal weakness and feeling vulnerable with someone. “You’re my ace….destroy destroy destroy.” Many of the songs on the band’s album, Morality Cuts, express the same heartfelt, personal sentiments and are expressed through shouting vocals and the drone of an electric guitar. Honduras harnesses the universal quality of punk music that has been lost. Everyone has their demons, but we all have the same urge to dance, shove and scream when one of these songs play. Pat says that he uses his songwriting to work through things in his life, which is the opportunity Honduras affords the listener. The songs on Morality Cuts bare personal feelings with repression ecstatically escaping through every strum of the electric guitar.

When Atypical Sounds saw their show at Baby’s Alright last month, the band performed their new single Paralyzed. The track holds a trademark that has that raw, in your face attitude and serves as a promising preview to their upcoming album, entitled “Rituals” which we can look out for this July.

Photo credit: Brock Fetch 

Written by Alessandra Licul