04/24/14 2:19pm


West Coast guitar clobberers Thee Oh Sees are headed to Northside to play their first New York show back on the road post-hiatus. (Remember? They were on hiatus for a hot minute&#8212 thank god that’s over&#8212before announcing their just-released new album, Drop.) On Saturday, June 14 the band will headline a FREE show at McCarren Park, so you’ll be reminded of how fun this whole rock-music thing can actually be.

The show, like with CHVRCHES on June 15, is all-ages and will happen rain or shine. Entry is first-come, first-served with a required RSVP, so make sure you head here on Friday, April 25 when they open to the public at noon. As always, Premium and Music badge-holders are guaranteed a spot at both McCarren Park shows, so there’s no need to RSVP if you purchase a badge. (Rest assured, you’ll automatically have a spot at the show.) Buy badges right here. Gates for Thee Oh Sees swing wide at 1pm, with the first band (TBA) on at 2pm, so show up early and grab a front-and-center spot. Let’s see if you can out-sweat frontman John Dwyer. (Our money is on Dwyer.)


04/10/14 2:26pm


You’re counting down the days until you get to see CHVRCHES for FREE at McCarren Park on June 15. You’ve got your sunblock and your umbrella (it’s rain or shine!), and your Instagram all geared up. Now all you need to do is guarantee your spot. The first step is to RSVP, which you can do here. The second is to make sure you arrive early, as RSVPs are first-come, first-served. (In other words, even if you RSVP, entry to the show is not confirmed.) If you have a Music or Premium badge, though, you’re all set, no RSVP required. (Sit back. Relax. We’ll be saving you a spot at the show.) Grab one of those here, why don’t you?

The gates open at 3pm and the music kicks off at 4pm; go get your Five Leaves on and then head to the park to not miss out on the action. We’ll see you Sunday, June 15!

02/26/14 4:00am

The Men

When Nick Chiericozzi references a guitar and the year 1974 to open Tomorrow’s Hits, The Men’s newest release for homegrown label Sacred Bones, it’d be easy to mistake the underlying arrangement and Neil Youngish drawl as an actual product of 1974. Except it’s 2014, and I’m sitting in an East Williamsburg coffee shop with him and fellow singer/guitarist Mark Perro, two-fifths of the band. We’re discussing the album’s backstory as the woman at the table opposite ours seems to be engaging in some sort of performance art involving scarves and selfies. So, you know… it’s very much 2014.

The Men have built a career out of ignoring what’s going on in the music scene around them. Their 2012 breakthrough was called Open Your Heart, a sentiment they took seriously, expanding their hardcore-leaning tendencies to include hints of shoegaze, grunge and country. Together with last year’s New Moon, Tomorrow’s Hits sees them travel even further down this path, developing into a composite of Young, Springsteen, Big Star and The Replacements—and one of the best pure rock bands anywhere.

The first line of the new album is, “My Mom gave me this guitar, 19 and ‘74 / And it’s true, there’s nothing I’d rather do.” This feels very Almost Famous of me to ask, but is that autobiographical?

Nick Chiericozzi: No… [Laughs]

Mark Perro: No? I always
assumed it was.

NC: Well, not that guitar. There’s a different one: an acoustic that my mom played right up until I was born. I ended up telling the story of my musical influence from my mom’s side of the family. Bluegrass and roots, from Georgia. It made sense to write a song about her mother—my grandmother—and my step uncle. I don’t know why, but that line just sort of fit
the chords.

What about you, Mark? Was there a musical heritage in your family?

MP: My uncle was a piano player. I remember being in my parents’ house in Queens, and I’d ask him to play. I always thought he was the coolest. He died when I was really young, but my mom also played piano and my grandmother played piano. But they never really took it past “Ave Maria” sheet music and that sort of thing. So it was always there in some sense, but my parents had to force me to take piano lessons. I hated
it, actually.

02/25/14 12:00pm

Photographs by Kenneth Bachor

The following is an excerpt from an L Magazine cover story on Brooklyn rock band The Men, which will appear in full tomorrow, both online and in print in orange boxes all over the city.

The idea of being a “guitar band” in Brooklyn seems like a funny thing. As expansive as the scene is, with all sorts of offshoot niches, and as timeless as Tomorrow’s Hits feels, I can’t think of another local band that sounds anything like you.

MP: I’ve noticed that a few times when trying to figure out who to ask to play with us or something. I don’t think we really have too many people who fit in musically with what we’re doing.

NC: I also don’t really consider us from here anymore. I don’t live in Brooklyn anymore, but that’s not even why. It just feels like we’ve expanded our community. Now there are, like, bands out in California that we’re friends with through touring, you know? It just sort of grew outside of Brooklyn.

There are some pretty good guitar bands here, though. There’s a band called Pampers, who are really cool. We did a tour with them. And Nude Beach. Chuck [Betz] is a great guitar player. There’s a pretty thriving hardcore scene that we were loosely affiliated with when we started, and all of those bands have some pretty cool guitarists. But a lot of Brooklyn bands do use it in a different way where it’s secondary. There aren’t a lot of big solos. It’s changed.

So how did writing and practicing work with you, Nick? You mentioned you aren’t living in Brooklyn anymore…

NC: I was at that time. I just moved to Long Island last year, so I’m close by.

Ah, ok. I thought maybe you meant you moved to LA or something.

NC: I mean, if I were cool, that’s where I’d be. [Laughs]

That’s another thing that seems to be happening a lot these days, though: bands who have been closely associated with Brooklyn for some time are relocating.
MP: It’s tough to survive as a band here. It’s so expensive—not just rent but to find a place for a five-piece band to play. You could move somewhere else and have a house and land and space.

Did having neighbors ever become an issue during the writing/demoing process in your apartment?
MP: Well, we played during the day. I live over a subway train, so it’s pretty loud anyway. We also stripped down a little bit by being there. We deadened the drums, played acoustic guitars, had smaller amplifiers. That’s a totally new situation for us. We typically have big, loud amps. That definitely impacted how these songs came out.

NC: I’ve played in maybe 50 apartments in New York, and you can tell when you’re in a place that you shouldn’t be loud. We never felt that. I was comfortable. I mean, I was singing pretty loud with a mic. If we upset anyone, no one ever said anything.

The Men play Bowery Ballroom on March 5. Tickets are $12, $14 day of. Grab them here.

Photographs by Kenneth Bachor

09/30/13 12:32pm


Following in the steps of Rough Trade, Fool’s Gold and Saddle Creek, homegrown record label Captured Tracks has officially spawned a brick-and-mortar record shop, damning the belief that they’re a dying breed of commerce. Because this isn’t a typical record store, for one. Under label founder Mike Sniper, they’ve portioned off their new office space at 195 Calyer Street in Greenpoint into the type of of place Rob Gordon-types daydream about but also less intense (less nerdy) music fans should feel comfortable hanging out in. The plan is to complement a constantly rotating stock of new and used records and tapes with anything that might pique Sniper’s, and likely your, as a culture-obsessed Brooklynite, interest: art books, posters, vintage pedals, amps, synthesizers. Mid-century furniture? Sure, why not. A small collection might pop up if that what Sniper is drawn to on his cross-continental buying trips. With an arcade game or two to keep the room from getting too stuffy and some listening booths near a bay window, the space promises to become how you always dreamt your bedroom would look like as an adult crossed with a proper record shop that doubles as a trading post where people swap their old records for other merch (because it’s that too).

At its core, though, is the music. Culling from Captured Tracks roster and far beyond, the store prides itself on consistently refreshing its stock: “The death of any record store is having the same record at the same price in the same bin for three years; people just stop coming back,” Sniper told Billboard. So that explains the pileup of merchandise handpicked from all corners of the world that’s currently in stock. Needless to say, there’s a lot to navigate. Below, Sniper and Captured Tracks General Manager Katie Garcia guide you through the bins, recommending deep cuts from records you can buy at the shop. You should do that, speaking of. Buy lots of records. Let this whet your appetite:

09/23/13 12:11pm


  • Photo courtesy @jpajpajeff via

First, to set the scene, a few choice quotes from a 2006 email Vampire Weekend bassist Chris Baio tweeted hours before the band headlined Barclays Center on Friday: “Our sound can best be described as a mix of 60s rock, African music, Elvis Costello and perhaps a touch of The Walkmen.” “We’ve mostly gigged in the Columbia University area but have also played at the Brooklyn Lyceum.” “We would love to play Pete’s Candy Store anytime staring in August.” “Our current NYC draw is around 35.”

Seven years later and they’ve got themselves playing to a hometown crowd&#8212or, to “a lot of friends, a few enemies,” as frontman Ezra Koenig put it while surveying the room with a coy smile&#8212at a venue laughably bigger than Pete’s Candy Store in support of an album they’ve dedicated to New York City. Given the situation, they could’ve wrung the show dry with career-milestone indulgence. There were signs throughout that they acknowledged the significance&#8212multi-instrumentalist Rostam Batmanglij brought his parents, Ezra broke into uncharacteristically surprised smiles at the response to early career songs like “A-Punk,” and Chris Tomson snapped pictures of the crowd from behind his drum kit (and, because he’s a baller, rotated through five eras of Nets jerseys as opposed to sticking with his usual black-and-white one)&#8212but as their third album, Modern Vampires of the City, attests, they’re not ones to dwell on where they’ve been. Instead, they’re hellbent on making the now sound really good.


Entering the stage to blaring trumpets like heroes returning home from war (they took the stage to “Let Me Clear My Throat” on their last album tour, in case you needed another indication that things have changed for them), they dive into a spot-on replication of ever-manic “Cousins” with that guitar riff that sounds like it’s spiraling out of control. Soon, there’s the batshit-crazy vocal effects on “Diane Young;” the chopped-up hip-hop beats on “Ya Hey;” even the spoken-voice interlude on “Finger Back,” which, for the record, Ezra deserves props for attempting in a live setting, even if the words don’t stream out as one elongated, silky syllable as they do on the album and he skips over (arguably) the best part of the track, a subsequent 10 second-span of contorting the word “blood” over and over again.

Still, if there are changes from how songs sound in their recorded form, it’s typically the rhythm section meeting the scale of the venue or Rostam’s added-on flairs. Tomson fills the cavernous space by hitting extra hard and Baio eggs the tempo up on already quick songs. “Horchata,” on the other hand, extends into a cheerleader synth-clap jive while Rostam sweeps in to finish off heartbreak ballad “Hannah Hunt” with a torched Hendrix guitar solo. To keep from getting too think piece-y, they opt to leave out the sound of ticking clocks on album underdog “Don’t Lie” and adorn its deep-rutted groove with a seesawing guitar that eventually segues into the grungy opening chords of Blur’s “Song 2,” accompanied here with far prettier “woohoos” than Damon Albarn’s originals. (Neither of these last two selections are played the next night during the band’s headlining set at Virgin Mobile’s FreeFest in Baltimore because, hey, hometown show, suckers.)

Meanwhile, Ezra&#8212he’s the one who starts the show wearing a green blazer from Marc Jacobs 2013 fall line under a white-on-white shirt-pants combo&#8212rarely strays the course with his vocals. Everything is bright and brisk, keeping the crowed in the palm of his elegantly gesticulating right hand, keeping them from thinking too much about what he’s actually saying. Because when you write lines like, “There’s a headstone right in front of you, and everyone I know,” it wouldn’t have been wrong, exactly, to have lingered on the notion for a moment. “Hannah Hunt” needed to have been just a hair slower to simmer in its sadness. “You ought to spare your face the razor/Because no one’s going to spare their time for you,” from album opener “Obvious Bicycle,” doesn’t sound as dejected when sung in an arena, even when sung against nothing but a blocky sample and minimal piano. And so they kept the crowd in the present, refusing to lose anyone to thoughts of the past or future.

For them to have milked the career-milestone meaning on Friday would have discredited the natural progression of a band who by their own accord and musical merits have evolved into one that wears designer jackets, plays under white Greco-Roman columns suspended from the ceiling (there were white Greco-Roman columns suspended from the ceiling), and walks onstage to trumpets. They made it to Barclays by keeping with their own sense of time.

The band did eventually play Pete’s in the summer of 2006, by the way. But likely in off-brand blazers.

Follow Lauren Beck on Twitter @heylaurenbeck.

09/18/13 1:48pm

Thats him.

  • That’s him.

As for the U.S. press outlets covering Britain’s solemn-faced folk-rock warrior Jake Bugg, indie heavyweights Pitchfork, Stereogum, Noisey and FADER have chosen to largely ignore him. I suppose that implies you either don’t need to hear him or they assume you already have. For those left in the cold, a career synopsis thus far: His self-titled debut hit number one last year on the U.K. charts (this spring, it was released in the States, where it hung out at number 75 for a while). He’s nominated for this year’s Mercury Prize. His video for the single “Lightning Bolt” is nearing 7 million views on YouTube. He’s played Glastonbury twice, SXSW, Coachella, Leno, Letterman and Ellen. A columnist for The New York Times has called him this generation’s Bob Dylan. His show last night at Webster Hall had been sold out for months. He started playing guitar just seven years ago. He’s 19.


The crowd in attendance reflects Pitchfork et al.’s ostracism, leaving lots of swooning college-aged girls, the type of people who still read Rolling Stone, and, at least where I was standing, an inordinate amount of Brits to pick up the slack. He is, by current indie-rock standards, uncool. His influences are uncool. His unsmirking self-seriousness is uncool. His hair is uncool.

Earnestness was everywhere last night, to start. More than once his bassist and drummer leave him alone on stage so he can soak his self-described “little acoustic songs” in emotional blood. There’s not a lot to decode in lyrics like, “I want to go someplace and find you there,” sung with his head up, eyes closed, in a voice that rarely attempts to stretch beyond its natural range so mostly sounds like a hoarse whine. He half-smiles maybe twice during the course of the night, but does a little bow after wanderlust ballad “Country Song,” suggesting that being away from wherever he is at the moment is where he’s happiest. At a time when the most popular indie artists seem to over- or underdo whatever it is they do, from uber-minimal synth-pop projects to exaggeratingly self-aware disco robots, Jake Bugg is a dying breed playing it straight.

At his poppiest, when his band spins into straight-faced hoedown mode, the flash of Mumford & Sons suspender strapping could be considered further repellent for the indie sect. “Trouble Town” and “I’ve Seen It All” chomp at Johnny Cash’s blue-collar honky-tonk, distancing Bugg from Alt-J‘s dub-folk, King Krule‘s understated jazz-folk, and the other, Urban Outfitted variations of the genre. Despite being the square staying on course with tradition, he’s got some Folsom swagger, relaxing into the second portion of the show and showcasing a lost appreciation for technical prowess as he rotates between five guitars. The outlaw persona peaks with “Two Fingers,” a song whose flippant punch stems from lines like, “I drink to remember, I smoke to forget/Some things to be proud of, some stuff to regret” to the merriment of a crowd completely locked in. He does another one of those little bows after that. The guy to the left of me yells out, “Yeah, Jakey!”

The encore hits on all three of his prominent strains: he plays acoustic heartbreaker “Broken,” a cover of Neil Young’s “My, My, Hey, Hey,” and Mumford-y juggernaut “Lightning Bolt.” Then, like a dork, he walks to the side of the stage, throws his guitar pick into the crowd and waves. He keeps waving. He looks up and waves to everyone in the balcony. As he takes it in, the wearied voice and Bob Dylan comparisons fade, and a new image snaps into place: small-town teenager winning over New York City, not needing the cool kids to claim a significant spot in our musical landscape. Here’s to being in it for the long haul.

Follow Lauren Beck on Twitter @heylaurenbeck.

09/17/13 1:45pm


I’m not one for exercise or moving my body at all, really, but if all 40-day cycling trips are as pleasant as the band Daytona makes them sound on their new single “The Road,” then perhaps I should reconsider. Cobbled together from members of former and current garage-rock fixtures Wild Yaks, The Siberians and Harlem, Daytona takes their stress-free, tumbled-together sound&#8212one that we’re quite fond of, if you recall a certain “8 Bands You Need to Hear” issue&#8212and drags it through the American landscape. Chronicling a bike trip from North Carolina to New Orleans that frontman Hunter Simpson and drummer Christopher Lauderdale took before moving to NYC, the single journeys across cultures and styles: piny folk is shot through with prickly Afro-Caribbean rhythms, working its way up to a happy-sad swell about a “road that never seems to end.” You don’t want really it to in this case.

Daytona’s self-titled LP is out November 19 via Ernest Jenning. Listen to “The Road” below, then go see it played in the flesh at Cameo on September 26.


Follow Lauren Beck on Twitter @heylaurenbeck.

09/16/13 12:38pm


Sky Ferreira and DIIV frontman Zachary Cole Smith, who love each other very much, performed a cover of Cat Power’s “Nude As the News” as part of DIIV’s set at the Pitchfork-affiliated BasilicaSoundScape festival in Hudson, NY on Saturday night. This was after they were arrested, jailed and released on bail for things like being in possession of Ecstasy and “a plastic bag containing 42 decks of heroin” in Saugerties early that morning.

According to Hudson Valley paper the Daily Freeman, officers pulled over the 1990 Ford pickup truck that Smith was driving after he made “several vehicle and traffic infractions,” resulting in a pileup of misdemeanor charges between he and Ferreria, including “criminal possession of a controlled substance and resisting arrest” for the Brooklyn prom queen and “two counts of criminal possession of a controlled substance, one count of possession of stolen property, and one count of aggravated unlicensed driving” for her king. (Also, violations of an unregistered motor vehicle, driving without insurance, and having an inadequate exhaust system.) A registration check showed the truck’s license plates belonged to a stolen vehicle, while Smith turned up as wanted by the Dutchess County Sheriff’s Office for an outstanding vehicle and traffic warrant.


But, hey, love prevails! Apparently! (Hopefully.)

Ferreria’s full-length debut, Night Time, My Time, is set for release next month via Capitol. She’s headed out on tour opening for Vampire Weekend this week, including their show at Barclays Center on Friday.

Here’s a rough YouTube account of that “Nude As the News” cover, by the way.

[via Pitchfork]

09/13/13 2:26pm

Hi, Im Dr. Moore, Ill be preforming your open-heart surgery today. And this is my Mom, Cindy. Shes here to tell me Im doing a good job.

  • Hi, I’m Dr. Moore, I’ll be preforming your open-heart surgery today. And this is my Mom, Cindy…

There are plenty of reasons why 20- and 30-somethings flinch at being included among the “millennial” masses. We are mostly terrible people, narcissistic and generally confused about how life works. Here’s another one: Last year, the human-resources organization Adecco surveyed more than 500 college graduates and found that 8 percent of them had a parent accompany them to a job interview. Three percent had the parent sit in on the interview.

A Wall Street Journal piece titled “Hiring Millennials? Meet the Parents” is full of other semi-embarrassing tidbits, revealing how, in hopes of grabbing talented young hires, companies are indulging millennials’ weakness for their moms and dads. There are regularly scheduled open houses at offices so Mom can finally put a face to the boss who’s been giving them a hard time about being late to work. There are managers who send notes home to parents, letting them know their precious, budding intern has achieved their sales goals. There are even home visits to negotiate salaries within the comfort of family rooms and allow prospective employees to be guided by the legend who once&#8212tell us again, Dad!&#8212whittled the price down for his used Camry by half.


In May, Google flipped the script on the typical “Take Your Kids to Work Day,” instead hosting more than 2,000 parents at its California headquarters for the company’s second annual “Take Your Parents to Work Day.” LinkedIn will follow suit in November, inviting the ‘rents to invade their offices in 14 countries, plus has plans to introduce a how-to guide for businesses looking to host similar events (hang a banner on the wall that spells out, “Hi, Moms and Dads!” and serve lots of iced tea?).

So, guys, it’s about time you meet my Mom. She was reading over my shoulder as I wrote this, questioning why I sometimes start sentences with conjunctions and asking me to tell her again what Twitter is.

Follow Lauren Beck on Twitter @heylaurenbeck.