music hall of williamsburg

Brooklyn Loves The Cribs
September 25, 2015 10:23 am

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I’ve tried to write this article a few times. But every time I start, I fangirl. The Cribs are just that good. Tuesday night saw the band take the stage at Music Hall of Williamsburg for 90 minutes of loud, sweaty fun, and enough distortion to make My Bloody Valentine more than a little jealous.

This show was part of the band’s second trip to New York this year, in promotion of their most recent album For All My Sisters. On October 30th, they’ll be releasing their “Summer of Chances single as a limited 7’, with the deliciously grungy “Wish I Knew You In The 90s as the B-side.

For those of you unfamiliar with the band, it consists of Wakefield-born twins Ryan and Gary Jarman on guitar and bass respectively, and brother Ross Jarman on the drums. They’re the third most popular band that have had Johnny Marr as a member.

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As soon as The Cribs set foot onstage Tuesday night it became clear that there was a sizeable crowd from England that had come to see them. Intermittent chants of “Yorkshire” echoing throughout the audience lasted through the duration of the show, and served as a reminder that even rock stars are not immune to a good ribbing.

After performing the first couple of songs, Gary held up his bandaged wrist and explained to the crowd that his playing may not be as energetic as usual. This was followed by the band taking turns telling the audience how they toured with Aerosmith in 2010, but managed to piss them off by the end of it. The banter came to a close with the audience singing Happy Birthday to Ross. For the record, it was actually Ross’ birthday.

The Cribs stage show is pretty no-frills, relying solely on simple lighting and the frenetic stage presence of Ryan, often rendering him a challenge to photograph in a way that didn’t make him look like a colorful blur. Hell, that probably would’ve suited him. And it’s not like the audience cared. Whereas so many shows these days are dominated by kids taking endless photos of a band they’re only “meh” on, the audience was every bit as into the show as the band, moshing and even crowd surfing along with the best of them.

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The highlight of the night came when the curtains opened at the back of the stage, revealing a projection screen used to show footage of Sonic Youth guitarist Lee Ranaldo along with an audio recording of his spoken-word vocals on the incredible “Be Safe. A week prior, Ranaldo had joined The Cribs live during their show at Montreal’s Fairmount Theatre for the same performance.

The show closed with “Pink Snow, the song whose lyrics gave For All My Sisters its title. At seven minutes and thirteen seconds long, it was a great way to hold on to a great show just a little bit longer. After that, they were gone. There was no encore; we were all spent.

Listen: The Cribs

 

“JOURNALISM” IS TAKING THE IRONY OUT OF MUSIC
July 14, 2015 11:00 am

Journalism is a Joy Division for this decade. The four piece rock outfit is particularly interesting because they manage to meld pop, garage rock, shoegaze and post punk influences. I got to hang out with singer Kegan and drummer Brendan and talk to them about their music and the state of things right now.

While Journalism certainly has a solid pop outline, their sound has depth and subtlety. The song “Passenger” has a powerful and infectious bassline that substantiates its pop instrumentation and dancey melodies, while a song like “I See Everything” is slightly heavier and showcases their post-punk influence.

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Coming off a kick ass performance opening for Wild Nothing at Music Hall of Williamsburg, the band is also currently working on an album at Spaceman Sound (“Their shit sounds so amazing” Kegan says) and getting ready for their set at Brooklyn’s Gigawatts Festival on 7/24. Tickets are available here. On living in Brooklyn, Kegan says that “the best part about living in Brooklyn right now is everyone is making music. There’s so much of it that you can be very choosy and sometimes you really like the music your friends are making. We are going to be working with some of our friends soon”.

“I wish their was less irony in music; if you like something you should just like it without the pretext.” Brendan remarks. “I would love to open for people who really love guitar music, we should open for Third Eye Blind” Kegan jokes. This attitude is very apparent in their music. Clearly the boys of Journalism know what they like but they aren’t going to stick to their one niche. They are influenced by what they like and what they want to sound like with nothing artificial or ironic about it. You can check the band out on BandCamp, Instagram and Facebook.

Written by Alessandra Licul

Floating Away With Tennis
July 6, 2015 3:38 pm

Tennis has this way of making you feel like you are floating away when you listen to their music. We were able to catch them this past May at the Music Hall of Williamsburg and we were not disappointed.

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The venue was packed, filled with anticipation for the new music from Tennis by a crowd bursting with energy. The response did not come short- some people (especially the ladies) were more impressed than expected. With the release of their latest video for “Bad Girls” from their LP, “Ritual In Repeat” the songs have moved away from the diary entries of their debut, and are being sung from the perspective of other women.

“There’s definitely an element of self-preservation after writing such an autobiographical, naïve, sublimely innocent first record” Alana explains. “After that, it feels right and better to write about other women”.

“It felt really good to move through other people’s voices, and practice empathy. It’s easy to be – and necessary to be – narcissistic when you’re an artist of any sort. You have to think that your shit is worth hearing. But it’s a good exercise in temperance to think about other people’s lives and their experiences, not just your own.”

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Well, we think her shit is worth hearing. We surrender, Alana, to this dreamy state you have entranced us in.

Temples Get Colorful at Music Hall of Williamsburg
June 10, 2015 1:12 pm

Temples has yet to set foot on stage, and Music Hall of Williamsburg already has the mellowed energy set up. It’s a quiet Monday night, and the audience is more than happy to stretch the weekend out a little further. This is Temples’ second tour of the U.S. with their 2014 debut record, Sun Structures.

Part of the album’s genius is its immediate ability to make you forget which decade you’re in. For all of its glossy production, the outcome doesn’t feel far from laying on the floor in front of a record player with two lungs full of Nag Champa. It’s disorienting in the best way.

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The band opens the show with Sun Structures, one of the longest tracks on the album at about 6 minutes. It’s sprawling and dreamy, like the music is stretching out across the crowd. Singer James Bagshaw’s face is hidden in his hair, and he’s mostly obscured in the swirling lights of the backlit stage, a silhouette with a guitar.

The audience is completely blissed-out. The couples in the crowd are in a cuddling trance, girls are dancing slowly, eyes closed with their arms above their head, swaying back and forth gently. All those people who believe a show isn’t good if the audience isn’t freaking out have never been to a Temples gig.

Beyond the music, it’s worth noting that the band looks absolutely fantastic. Bagshaw’s resemblance to Marc Bolan of T. Rex has been noted in publications like NME and The Guardian, an observation that is sure to increase in frequency as the band continues to gain popularity. Bagshaw is wearing a suede shirt with fringe, while bassist Thomas Walmsley takes the crowd back to a nostalgic time when Sweet was on their cassette tapes.

They close the show with Mesmerise, a beautiful choice for the remaining minutes of the gig. Partway through the song, a silver spaceman playing tambourine dances onto the stage, and continues dancing around the band until the song ends. The audience is broken from their trance to watch this strangely well-choreographed routine.

Then, it’s over. Virginia Plain by Roxy Music blasts from the PA system as the room clears. After such a colorful performance, the outside world feels a little grayer.


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Set list:

Sun Structures

A Question Isn’t Answered

The Golden Throne

Volcano/Saviour

Colours To Life

Ankh

Henry’s Cake

Keep In The Dark

Sand Dance

Shelter Song

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Fragment’s Light

Mesmerise

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 

Palma Violets Rock Out at the Music Hall of Williamsburg
May 27, 2015 4:58 pm

With the release of their recent album “Danger in the Club,” Palma Violets have been traveling to bring their music to fans all over the globe. Having already played in the big apple back in March this year, they came back to the city to play a few more shows. I had the opportunity to chat with the drummer Will before their show at the Music Hall of Williamsburg.

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They kicked off their visit with an acoustic session at Rough Trade, which was the second acoustic session they’ve ever done.

“First successful one we’ve put on I think. It takes a while to get into, especially going from live to the acoustic ones. It took us a few times to get it right.”

So what is it that brings them back to the city?

“Most of it is the history when you’re playing here. You know you’re in good hands and there’s such a good music scene as well.”

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While queueing up for the show, I witnessed MANY underaged kids who got their fake ID’s taken by security who couldn’t get in the venue. “All of our shows at the moment are 21 and over here. The younger kids are allowed to come to the gigs in the UK. We probably have young fans here in the US, but we rarely meet them.”

The first time I got to see them was at Baby’s All Right two months ago, and they gave a show that was as wild as ever! Knowing that they have a tight schedule packed with shows almost everyday, I wasn’t sure if they’d be able to live up to those expectations. I clearly underestimated them, because they were rockin’ out like it was in their blood! The level of energy in the room was unbelievable.

A group of guys created a mosh pit in the center of the crowd, tossing their beers everywhere, unable to contain their excitement. Palma Violets were running back and forth on stage, sweating like crazy as if they just finished a 10k. It was clear that everyone came to have the time of their lives. 

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“I think it’s honest when you go on stage. There’s a little bit of showmanship in it, in a way. You wanna just move about. But even if there’s one or a thousand people, you still get the same thing. It has to be on that certain level.”

Palma Violets’ tunes have a very authentic British-Punk Rock sound that sort of remind you of The Clash or The Sex Pistols. A lot of heavy guitar and beating drums. As Will sums it up in one word, their sound is “ETHEREAL”.

You’d think that they’d listen to a bunch of punk rock songs and do all the things a ‘rock-star’ does, but they weren’t afraid to put their alter-ego out in the open.

“We’re all big fans of ABBA. I think anyone who says they’re not is in denial. Also, Pete’s writing a children’s book and he’s writing the music for it at the moment.”

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These British lads don’t have much time to go out and explore when they have shows booked back to back, but when they do, they love doing all things tourist.

“We went to Beacons. We went near Steve’s house and he took us near a waterfall and we went swimming and it was brilliant! We also went to this place that was on ‘Diners Drive-Ins and Dives’. We felt like real tourists. We got chicken sandwich and cornbread. It was super American and intense.”