Below, check out a few places to go and a few things to search for when you are there. (Those not willing to take our suggestions can find a complete list of RSD exclusives here, and a more thorough list of participating local shops here).
Her band, original Williamsburg gentrification totems Yeah Yeah Yeahs, released their fourth album Mosquito yesterday. It's a record that strains at its own edges in that same unpurposed way, grabbing bits of anything—gospel choirs, found sounds, ill-fitting rap cameos—and just blindly mashing them in. A record as a Cold Stone Creamery cup. It's actually their first album that fully sounds like Karen O looks on stage. It's a pretty exciting mess!
In the RS interview, the guys talk about wanting to return to the quaint glamor of billboard ads and TV spots for upcoming records. But they fail to mention that they wouldn't be allowed to do that if all of their plans didn't also slot perfectly into a news-hungry Internet culture that's handing them all the real, valuable social network-shared advertising they really need. What's the point of debuting their record in the middle of an Australian farm convention? It's weird! People will write about it! Not that some farmers who probably don't care will somehow feel their slick disco music more authentically. The videos they've been rolling out through Vice's Creator's Project to spotlight the album's illustrious collaborators are even more aggressively modern in a way the guys pretend to reject.
It's become common acceptance that New York City is overrun by bands. Bands are everywhere. So many bands. A lot of them are really awful, let's not kid ourselves here. But there's a solid army of them keeping this place afloat as one of the creative centers of the universe—and that takes more than just eight bands. With that we'd like to tip our hat to a few honorable mentions wholly deserving of your attention.
For a band so obviously informed by rootsy 60s guitar rock (Neil Young lite?), Icewater's most potent weapon stretches surprisingly skyward. Ever-reaching vocals, scrubbed clean of grit and and the weariness of age, unfurl across rolling Fleet Fox melodies to turn songs into gentle anthems. They're currently recording a full-length; we suspect listening to it will make you look out windows and think about important things.
Festival season is in full swing, which means at least a couple of things. Ideally, it means that you'll get to party a lot, travel a little, and see bands you like (or new bands that you're going to like). But, more assuredly, it means that throngs of hyper-intense PR people will be doing a lot of crazy shit to get your attention for a few minutes longer than whatever other sponsored tent is right next door.
I interviewed Cox once, right around the release of his first solo Atlas Sound record. As he is an extremely intelligent, extremely talkative guy, I feel like we covered a good chunk of rock history. Asked about the distinct personas of different Bowie eras, he made a really good, under-made point that they had been brought on by personal changes in band, geography, and producer just as much as they were a product of divine theatrical impulse. But he'd never do that. To quote: "I totally respect that, but it's not where I feel comfortable. I would feel really pretentious trying to do a Bowie thing. And I don't think it's very necessary." Cox has been playing with his image for a long while, now, but this is his first dive into a distinctly named stage persona. Ch-ch-changes.
Watch Lungpin sing "Monomania" with Deerhunter below:
Recently, I've been listening obsessively to Wormfood, the first proper record from Detroit band Jamaican Queens, who formed just last year. It was self-released at the beginning of March, and given the short attention span of the web, I wonder if it's already been ignored and forgotten? It's a bit of an overstatement to say that no one has paid attention to the band so far (but thanks for reading!). Their reputation is building, and they've been invited to do a few magazine video sessions, and such. But the full album certainly deserves more acclaim than it's gotten.
Let's listen to a couple tracks below, and discuss...
So, it's officially happening. We've arrived. The VMA's are coming to Brooklyn. And not just any VMA's! This summer's ceremony at the Barclays Center will mark the 30th anniversary of the Most Important Awards Show of Our Time. For Brooklyn, MTV, and the growing list of things that make you feel just a little bit weird and old, this is a milestone.
Ha, but not so fast, bands of the world! New York City remains the one place that bands hoping to take off need to come all year round, and hey, as long as you're in the U.S. anyway, how about another quick set or three? Here are 5 passport-packin' acts that land in New York this week, thus returning our smug assurance that we are still in the cultural center of the globe. Phew.
2013 is actually unusually loaded with high-profile returns that could totally blow up. We're expecting new records from The Knife, Daft Punk, Arcade Fire, and M.I.A. (Go, 2013!) With the possible exception of Daft Punk those probably won't matter much to the culture at large, but all are notable, influential acts who've all been out of the public eye for a second. But we're daydreaming about a BIG DEAL here. Who else is out there who's been out of the album business long enough to dive back in and make a instant splash?
On Saturday, March 2nd, buzzy New York City dance-pop band Avan Lava played their first even headlining show at the Music Hall of Williamsburg. Driven by lead singer Tom Hennes's assured, attention-grabbing vocals, they make no concessions to the recent wave of easily forgotten, wishy-washy electro-pop, instead favoring big hooks, and bold production and theatrical live performances. For the Music Hall show, they prepared for two weeks, collaborating with Lovefoxxx (of CSS), Noemi Ruiz, lighting and production designer Marc Janowitc, choreographer Jenn Freeman and costume designer Lily Jean. They took some polaroids as they were getting ready, and we're happy to share them with you here, along with a short and totally crazy clip from the show.
The gospel choir outro is the biggest point of interest, clearly, a bit of tongue-in-cheek bombast cementing lyrics which are very definitely about having sex with a literal angel from heaven and feeling conflicted about it. "Fallen for a guy, fell down from the sky. Halo round his head. Feathers in a bed. In our bed." There's really no other way to read that.
Listen to "Sacrilege" here, and then we'll discuss:
No, silly, "none of them" isn't an option! You are required to a pick side here, because this? This is important. So, where do you allegiances lie? With "Mark McGrath & Friends," or with Matchbox 20 and their just-announced cruise?
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