Mike Hadreas, the Seattle songwriter who’s drawn great acclaim for the beautiful and pained records he’s recorded as Perfume Genius, is in a “frazzled” pre-tour state. He’s about to leave for a second U.S. swing in support of last fall’s Too Bright, his third and best record. It will bring him to Manhattan’s Stage 48 on Thursday, March 19th, ahead of dates supporting big-deal Matador Records labelmates Interpol and Belle and Sebastian. I caught up with him by phone, shortly after his return from Rite Aid, where he “somehow spent like a hundred bucks” in cautious preparation. (“It makes me feel better to have various cremes and serums.”)
With their DIY roots and a hard-gigging work ethic, New Jersey’s Screaming Females come across as punks, but their music has always been a purer strain of classic, airbrushed-van-dwelling hard rock. The friction in their sound comes from sussing out the intended scale: It’s always been unclear whether they’ve been attempting arena fare and falling short, or if they’re consciously trying to make hard-riffing guitar rock into something more relatable and human-sized. They’ve got a scrappy, striving quality that makes them seem forever like a band that might suddenly rise to some higher level. But at this point, they’ve been a working band for a decade and put out six full-length records; to a large degree, they are what they are. (more…)
Sam Ray has been creatively restless and irrepressibly prolific for years. The Maryland producer has multiple aliases for delivering lo-fi of differing flavors. He’s in indie-pop acts like Julia Brown and Starry Cat, and leans punk with the slightly more amped group Teen Suicide. More often he produces gauzy ambient and lightly glitchy electronic music, both in the collaborative group Heroin Party and what seems to be his primary creative vehicle, Ricky Eat Acid. Ray plays two headlining shows in New York City in the next couple of weeks, one at Brooklyn’s Shea Stadium and one at Manhattan’s Mercury Lounge, a sign that the project might be entering a whole new phase. (more…)
“I think everything is ridiculous, is basically my philosophy,” says Matt Flegel. Going by his dark lyrics for the Calgary post-punk band Viet Cong, straight-up nihilism would have been another strong guess. If the end of Flegel’s previous band, Women, was one source of his bleakness, that’d be understandable. An onstage fistfight with bandmate and brother Pat in 2010 put that band on hiatus, thus nixing a European tour. And the tragic death of guitarist Christopher Reimer the next year precluded any chance the band had to continue. But despite all this, Flegel seems good-natured and bright about his second run at success, and is hardly the caricature of a tortured artist. And it’s perhaps because of his experience and perspective that even Viet Cong’s career-boosting “Best New Music” nod from Pitchfork was met with an even, matter-of-fact affability from Flegel: “Our manager was pumped.”
Hi, not sure if you’ve heard, but a blizzard happened this week. Doomsday prophecies aside, it’s actually been a pretty chill affair. We have no clue what you’ve been up to, but we’ve spent most of the day lounging horizontal on the couch listening to reggae and sipping Modelos. While working of course! But we’re well aware you can’t get away with living the island life all week long, so when you’re ready to strap on your snow booties and mush out onto the frozen hell-tundra our beloved borough has become, you know where to go. (more…)
Sleater-Kinney and Belle and Sebastian came up at the same time and were embraced by overlapping circles, but the bands began by evoking completely disparate ideas: While one band punched and clawed its way to a finer future, the other daydreamed of a more vibrant past. Their respective ideas of indie-rock have long felt suited to completely different goals and activities—demanding the spotlight versus drifting happily out of view; storming the pit or just taking the bus. And yet, despite their opposite dispositions, these two groups wound up being two of the most enduring bands of the 90s. Now, both start their third decades with return albums. No Cities to Love is the first by Sleater-Kinney after a ten year hiatus, and it’s-a-stomped-boot-on-the-gas-pedal of an abruptly announced reunion. Meanwhile, in spite of Stuart Murdoch’s time off spent directing a film, Belle and Sebastian have remained conspicuously active in the last decade, embracing a new identity as crowd-pleasing pros. Their ninth album, Girls in Peacetime Want to Dance, is the fullest evidence of that creeping extroversion. Again the groups take different routes—one clarifying their resolve, the other expanding their boundaries.
No Cities To Love
(Sub POP, January 20)
There’s something admirable in a sainted rock band deciding to embark on a reunion tour to support new material instead of merely working through the old hits for an expanded pool of ticket buyers. But this is likely to be even more exciting in practice than it is in theory. Simply put, there’s going to be a new Sleater-Kinney record!
People this is your last week to party, and there are plenty of excellent shows happening from now until next week when going back to work will involve, you know, actual work. We’ve got everything from New Year’s rock n’ roll parties (in the case you’re looking for more “dance”-oriented stuff, check out our Sleep When You’re Dead List) to events that are sure to snap you back to reality. Your resolution was to get off your butt and take advantage of all the cool stuff happening around the borough, right? Get to it.
By Bee Hill & Nicole Disser
Fuck yeah, we’re in the home stretch! Our bags are packed and we’re heading home for some much-needed holiday chillness. We’ll be resting and gearing up for the mother of all nightlife, coming at us full-speed next week: NEW YEAR’S EVE. There are many amazing things going on, so we suggest narrowing it down from the following by considering: 1. The vibe you’re looking for (All night dancing? Upping the punx? Pseudo grownup?) and 2. Your price range (New Year’s shit can be so expensive, but there are also really, really fun less-expensive options if you know where to look.) Also, these things WILL sell out, so get your ticket, like uh, yesterday.
No matter what you end up doing: Be safe and have fun! We know there can be a revolting amount of hype around New Years, and although we don’t mean to perpetuate that with this list, we think there really is something special about celebrating another year of humanity’s existence. So gear up to celebrate (If you’re like “Oh yeah, I totally just want to sit in my apartment alone, like any other night. New Years sucks,” you’re lying/ wrong.) but just don’t stress out: surround yourself with good people and good music and the rest will definitely fall into place. Happy New Year, Brooklyn!
You might think we’d have a thin crop of shows this week, what with yuletide-ings etc., but wowzers, we still managed to find a gaggle of great live happenings around town. Check out our picks for ways to avoid spending time with your family. Or, hey, maybe stop being a jerk, bring your mom and show her a good time for once.