09/26/14 2:30pm
09/26/2014 2:30 PM |

The apocalypse feeling that comes with each fresh closing of a previously thriving Brooklyn DIY spot is tough to deny. While mourning 285 Kent, or wincing at the impending departure of Death by Audio, it can feel like the sad end of something right and just and true. But it should be clear by now that, while the desire to frequent these spaces is too small to thwart the wider economic forces that continually reshape Brooklyn, it’s impossible to fully extinguish. If it’s dark, unseasonably warm, and running 40 minutes late, it’s DIY. So it goes that Bushwick’s Palisades now nudges into contention for the current heart of Brooklyn music’s unruly fringe. Last night the frills-less black box was shoulder to metal-studded shoulder for an AdHoc presented four-band bill lacking any overexposed music media stars. The sets varied in impact and emphasis but, as a whole, the night suggested continuing life to be found in places the L train won’t take you. 


L.O.T.I.O.N. (or Legacy of Terror in Occupied Nations, if you’re nasty) is something of a industrial supergroup sewed up from the Frankenstein limbs of the city’s grubbiest bands. Recorded, the project scans as machine music—thudding, broken, slick with surface oil. Live, they’re a roaring quartet, improbably groovy within their barking mania. Repetitive sequenced beats were doubled on drum in real time by the oft-naked frontman of local maniacs, Dawn of Humans, creating an in-pocket, low-end boom. Lead shouter Alexander Heir (also of punk band Survival) writhed and frothed through military mesh tucked into a red Guardian Angel beret. He glowed in the light of disgusting projections depicting wounds, corpses, and unspecified flesh distress that took a real effort not to fully recognize. It was all unpleasant but, weirdly, not unappealing. Their songs lacked structural comfort, avoided earworms aside from a a sticky mantra of two (“goodbye humans…goodbye friends…”). But there was something churning, a cyborg pairing of stomach nausea and electrical fritz, that was pretty intriguing. 


Following them were Anasazi, a veteran New York band who were much less effective. Hardcore is a resurgent influence in danger of once again growing very stale. Unless cut with some surprising element, an off-tempo or weird invading strain, the style tends to sacrifice nuance at the alter of pure physicality and tossed beer baths. The band were at their best in the moments when they slowed down and spaced out, allowing the rusty edges of their guitars to more deliberately shiv you in the ear. Those bits were far too fleeting. You wished they were much stranger, had heard a few more records by The Fall, or something? Anger is not interesting inherently.

For those still unaware of the brief musical genre blip “sea-punk,” it once referred to new age-y almost-R & B music written under the influence of Robitussin and Windows ’95 screen savers. But just from the name, you’d assume it was loud rock music about fish and stuff, right? Here, we find headliner Hank Wood and the Hammerheads. While their music is certainly aggressive, and overtly masculine, the set never descended into off-putting machismo. It was sorta sensitive in a weird way—just shirtless bros communing with one another in blue, nautical light. They zoned into rhythms with multiple drummers and built them into a thick froth, as the crowd climbed to the room’s highest points to recklessly dive off. There was a natural sway to it that played further than the radius of the pit.

After, and between sets, there was a weirdly respectful exodus to the sidewalk, in improbable group-adherence to the flimsy, photocopied “No Smoking” sign inside. People lingered there in clumps for a while, discussing subsequent moves, just glad for a meeting place that’s not under active threat of soon becoming a J Crew with its own signature cocktail. 

09/19/14 4:52pm
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09/19/2014 4:52 PM |

Summer may be coming to a close, but that doesn’t mean the season for drinking margaritas is over! In fact, we’d argue that every season is the right time for relaxing with a ready-made marg—especially if it’s a Sauza Sparkling creation. Really, there’s no better way to celebrate the arrival of autumn than a sip of these delightfully delicious sparkling drinks, pre-prepared for you and set to go straight from the bottle.

How nice would it be to relax with the gentleman cowboy above? He certainly seems like he would be useful to have around, with a ready-to-serve Sauza Sparkling margarita on hand in whatever flavor you’d like—Original Lime, Mango Peach, Wild Berry, or Watermelon. Who knows, maybe you could even get adventurous and mix a couple flavors together (Mango Peach Watermelon? Yes please)!

Unlike a regular margarita, these are light and flavorful, which makes them the perfect drink for a casual evening of watching movies with the girls, preparing for a night out, or—as the cowboy suggests—settling in to hash out some juicy gossip.

So sit back with the simple flavors of a Sauza Sparkling margarita. Pretend you’re sitting with your feet in a creek, your horse at your side, cooling off and letting the day’s troubles melt away. Or just enjoy the NYC skyline from your roof (or a friend’s, if you’re not that lucky). Either way, take the time to enjoy Sauza’s handiwork. We sure as hell will.


This post is sponsored by Sauza Tequila.

09/17/14 2:53pm
09/17/2014 2:53 PM |

So let’s talk about this Sunday. We’ll be kicking off the “Northside Concert Series at Brooklyn Flea,” which is an adequately self-explanatory tittle for a run of free concerts happening during the Brooklyn Flea at 50 Kent every Sunday throughout the first weekend of October. What’s not self-explanatory is how excited we are about the lineups.

This week we have gleeful garage rock from Crazy Pills (3pm), disco-dusted pop from Motion Studies (3:35pm), unaffected punk from Philly’s Cayetana (4:15pm), and a solo set by kinetic guitar shredder/supreme stage banterer Marnie Stern (5pm) to top off the day. My iPhone’s weather app promises 81 degrees and sun, which, frankly, is unfair to anyone unable to join us at 50 Kent. When in a couple months the earth is gray and frozen, we can look back on the day we bought a set of vintage cutlery while listening to a garage-disco-punk-rock spread, and happily conclude that Brooklyn is the best place in the world.

Gates to the Williamsburg Flea at 50 Kent (Kent Ave & North 12th St) will open at 10am, per usual, with music at 3pm and wrapping up around 6pm for all shows in the series. Keep an eye here for more info on September 28’s installment with Twin Peaks and October 5’s with Small Black. For the sake of explanation, we are VERY excited.

09/08/14 2:56pm
09/08/2014 2:56 PM |

This past Saturday posed a deep quandary for parties interested in electronic music’s past and future shape.

In the blue-corner, the last MoMaPS1 party of the season had a stacked, intriguing lineup. It boasted the toast of the UK’s demented pop scene, Sophie, in a rare, fully lit live performance. It had the dark and sickly sounds of Yeezus collaborator, Evian Christ. And in a late-announced mic drop, it also had international superstar DJ and weird-haired lord of EDM, Skrillex. 

But then, in the red corner, was the chance to get an advance listen to Syro, the first Aphex Twin album in 13 years. 

So…a mission to take in as much of this as humanly possible in one day was embarked. The notes of a semi-coherent man are as follows. 


– It turns out Sophie—He who is not to be photographed by publicist decree—is neither an anime teenager nor a sentient cloud of hamburger emoji. He, instead, is a sort of handsome, pale ginger, with a cascading emo mane. He wore a black coat on top of a black turtleneck, and it was way too humid for that to be even a little bit comfy. Hot pink headphones were his most on-brand accessory.

– His set at this point is mainly teasing the handful of not-yet-actual hits he’s made, teased with extended drones of their noiser components, before actually dropping the song in full. I’m not sure what else he could do. He’s made like 8 songs or something.

– When the singles did finally drop, they were very well received. “Hey QT”, in particular, was greeted with mild chaos among the early-day arrivers. Of those filling the courtyard, the self-selected group fiercely Vogueing on the museum’s top steps were especially emphatic. With a young, Internet-fluent audience, dude’s a big deal already.

– That’s all I got for Sophie!

– Warp Records scheduled a series of listening parties at Williamsburg dance club Verboten so there was a decent lineup time where guest-listed writers, road-tripping die hard fans, and various unsavory others stood outside, so the room could be cleared out from an earlier session. This process weirdly felt like a mid-afternoon IMAX showing, where guys already wearing Avengers t-shirts came fist-pumping out of the 10AM show, promising that Iron Man would be, again, rad. Some gals in Aphex tees were there too, it should be noted. But the ratio was pretty guy-heavy.

– Like with Sophie, there was a proclaimed no-phones policy in effect. Unlike Sophie, there was total darkness, with a couple minimal light graphics.


– The most dominant impression I had was that Syro sounds blissfully unaffected by the whims of current electronic music. All James’ “greatest hits” were present, aka, insane BPMs, squiggling acid house noises, and even a beautiful and ghostly piano outro. There are no big bass drops or anything that might cause you to think Richard D. James might suddenly following trends rather than leading them. Leading them back to 1997, perhaps, but leading.

– James has referred to this as his “most accessible album ever” and that may well be accurate. But we’re talking about a pretty weird discography. There are mangled snippets of vocals here and there, but nothing you’d call a hook, exactly. It does make Disclosure sound like a couple of teenagers in shorts.

– People loosened up over an hour sitting in the dark, or shuffling on the floor. Deep head nodding was the preferred mode as opposed to crazed dancing. One old bald guy was pulling late 90s rave moves consistently throughout, and I was more or less terrified that when the lights went on he would have a “Come to Daddy” video monster face on his head.   

(The fact that MTV showed that video usually around 2AM, and you could not just watch it online the next day to confirm what you’d seen, certainly helped the burn into a lot of impressionable young brains.)

– Though it’s difficult to say for sure after one listen several days ago, sans phone-assisted notes, it sounded more or less great. Intense, pretty, and odd in spots, it consistently provides unpredictable changes in structures or tempo, beats shuddering with life, and songs that cut out in unexpected moments of stillness. Very much in the ballpark of My Bloody Valentine’s mbv in terms of a satisfying, if not exactly life-altering, return from a long hiatus. 

* But as a side note, can can we in good conscience endorse anything that led Thom Yorke down the rabbit hole to this???

[embed-5]I just don’t know. 

– But OK, jazzed up now, leaving Verboten to catch some of Skrillex’s surprise set at MoMa PS1! Let the electronica continuum flow straight through me  and into the cosmos!

– Greeted immediately upon re-entry to PS1 by large muscleheads on each others’ shoulders, waving a comically large flag demanding “More Bass” immediately let me know that my open-minded swagger had betrayed me.

– I am not against Skrillex in theory, you guys. I’m really not. I think culturally, that huge-drop, gnawed-wires sound of his will be seen as era-defining in a certain, not-entirely correct way that will nonetheless seem totally correct to future generations who stumble across Spring Breakers on their vidscreens. His best songs, even when they seem gauche or dumb, are vibrant and full of weird ideas. He makes music that has undeniable physical effect.

– That said, the vibe at his live show (or at least this one) was so…Vegas chintzy? The constant pump-you-up ID breaks, where he sounded just like a fairground booth hawker, assuring passers-by that “2 for $1! 3 for $5” is a sweet deal for shooting water in a gross clown’s mouth. Working in memes like “Peanut Butter Jelly Time”, or pap like Toto’s song “Africa” didn’t really strike me like fun, inclusive moments of populist genius so much as irrefutable lapses of good taste.

– Still, people went bananas. Even if I found it tacky, Skrillex’s carnival shtick really did pop the crowd. And maybe, as the obvious fun-havers, they might have been the correct ones. Coming from Aphex Twin, I tried to comfort myself with idea of enjoying something that’s not so eager to please. Except, wasn’t Syro eager to please me, and those from my demographic, specifically? Sometimes a generation gap really slaps you in the face.

– Even in quiet moments of doubt, my mind’s eye is haunted by arms, man, like a sea of so many arms that you could climb to the front of the stage on them, if they didn’t first pull you down to whatever horrible maw it was that lay beneath. 

– Maybe those flag dudes were right. Maybe we could have used some more bass. 

09/05/14 12:55pm
09/05/2014 12:55 PM |

“Is this heaven?” you ask wide-eyed at the gates of 50 Kent on a crisp fall afternoon. “No, it’s the Brooklyn Flea,” James Earl Jones responds from above. It’s an understandable mix-up, what with the Flea corralling 150 of the city’s most sought-after vintage, handmade and food vendors — my god, the food vendors! — into 50 Kent every Sunday throughout summer and early fall, turning a concrete lot along the Williamsburg waterfront into Brooklyn’s Promised Land. The Flea built it, and people keep coming. 


We couldn’t be happier to add to the feel-goodness of the situation by presenting a three-week series of shows during Flea hours and slapping on a zero-dollar admission price. While shopping, eating and drinking, mosey on over to the stage area to see a special solo set by kinetic guitar shredder Marnie Stern on September 21, garage-rock’s youngest saviors Twin Peaks on September 28, and the borough’s deepest feelers Small Black on October 5, each joined by soon-to-be-announced special guests. (Just ran some tests. It’s been proven that all three bands are the perfect soundtrack to debating whether you have enough room in your apartment for that antique trunk you just came across at a vendor booth, so there’s that too.)

Gates to the Williamsburg Flea will open at 10am, per usual, with music starting at 3pm and wrapping up around 6pm. There’s only one way to spend an early autumn Sunday in Brooklyn. This is it.

09/03/14 10:45am
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09/03/2014 10:45 AM |

Jura is a tiny island off the coast of Scotland. Brooklyn is an important region of a rather long island off the coast of New York. Jura is gifted with a temperate tropical climate thanks to the Gulf Stream, and graced with one street and a single pub. Brooklyn has a significantly more unpredictable climate, many more streets, and countless pubs (and bars, and clubs).

At first glance, it may seem like these two places couldn’t possibly have any less in common; however, sometimes the most striking similarities appear within these vast differences. One very important trait that they do share? A rebellious spirit and a taste for doing things a bit differently.

Diurachs (that would be the inhabitants of Jura—all 187 of them) have long been fascinated by Brooklyn and its love of rule breaking. In 2013 Jura master distiller Mr. Willie Tait traveled across the Atlantic to learn more about the place and craft a world-class single malt scotch whisky dedicated to it.

Simply making something inspired by Brooklyn wouldn’t do, though. So Tait brought along six whisky cask samples and enlisted some of Kings County’s most influential and visionary denizens to offer up their palettes and opinions. With their assistance, Tait was able to create a unique expression aged in American White Oak Bourbon, Amoroso Sherry, and Pinot Noir casks with notes of smoke (a nod to the borough’s dive bars), roasted coffee beans, lush berries, and honey.

In June, New York’s finest ladies and gents gathered to toast the official debut of the whisky. The launch was held in an old warehouse in Williamsburg, which was transformed for the evening to resemble the elegant yet rustic Jura Lodge (complete with plenty of faux taxidermy and cushy chairs). From guided tasting sessions hosted by Tait to the giant graffiti-ed stag, it was an evening to remember.

Jura Brooklyn is currently available in limited quantities at finer whisky purveyors both in the city and nationwide. You can also order a dram at a few very discerning local bars. Follow @JuraWhiskyUS to keep up with all the latest announcements.


The creation of Jura Brooklyn would not have been possible without the guidance of their esteemed collaborators: Buttermilk Channel, Bedford Cheese Shop, Brooklyn Brewery, Fine & Raw, Brooklyn Winery, Vimbly, The Richardson, Post Office, OTB, Noorman’s Kil, New York City Food Truck Association, and our sister publication, Brooklyn Magazine.

08/30/14 12:00am
08/30/2014 12:00 AM |

Fool's Gold Day Off header-FINAL

Remember when we told you that Fool’s Gold promised “some special surprises” for their annual Labor Day bash in Brooklyn? That wasn’t a lie. Just when you thought your holiday weekend couldn’t get any better — surprise! — Fool’s Gold OG and super producer-DJ-turntablist A-Trak has been added to the Williamsburg edition of Fool’s Gold Day Off at 50 Kent on Monday.

This is a party, mind you, that already includes Danny Brown, French Montana, AraabMuzik, The LOX, Benmar, Hoodboi B2B Falcons, Yung Gleesh, World’s Fair, Nick Catchdubs (feat. B.I.C.), Shash’U, Black Dave, GrandeMarshall and more… so, yeah, it’s going to be a really good day off.

For those of you just joining us, the bullet-point details:

What: Fool’s Gold Day Off, now featuring 100 percent more A-Trak

When: Monday, September 1; doors open at 2pm, music starts at 3pm

Where: 50 Kent (Kent Ave. and North 12th St. in Williamsburg, Brooklyn)

How: Tickets are $20 ($30 day of). BUY THOSE HERE.

How excited should you be? Very.

08/29/14 1:24pm
08/29/2014 1:24 PM |

There’s been a distinct disappointment in 2014’s crop of would-be-BBQ jams. Folks have been tying themselves into knots for weeks attempting to refuse the inevitability of Iggy Azaelea, not to mention that odious Canadian reggae guy. This, of course, is super silly. It’s not like the failure to appoint a consensus song of the summer is a slight on par with the Nobel dudes issuing a press release that just said “Nah, bro” before fucking off some fjord for the year. But, to be super serious for a second, this whole indecisive muddle is ignoring the degree to which Sophie has been remorselessly killing it. Were the summer song landscape a game of Grand Theft Auto, he would be swarmed with little pixel cops by now. Going into this, the last weekend of summer ’14, it’s time to acknowledge that Sophie won it. 


To be considered official, a “Song of the Summer” sadly requires a level of pop radio ubiquity that Sophie is too weird, too new, too anonymous to obtain. The most that’s really known about the UK producer is that he’s a dude, and not some lady named Sophie. He performs in near darkness and goes with press photos of candy colored plastics or fun-loving, slightly deranged femmes. While forced mystery among electronic producers has become sort of an expected affectation, the cloak of secrecy is sort of thematically appropriate here. Who wants to see the possibly old-ish British dude responsible for all this aggressive youthful, sweetly feminine music?

Sophie’s first single, released in early 2o12, tempered its standard house thump with touches just a little more kinetic and amusing than expected. His second single, “Bipp”, the on-the-sly song of last summer was the first to display the pitched-up vocals and irrepressible energy that’s becoming his signature. His third 12”, released in late July, is further proof that ridiculous pop has a new master.


The A-side, “Lemonade”, sounds like a tough gang of B-Girls practicing in a still active soda carbonation factory. It is hot, squealing nonsense. The B-side, “Hard,” while still using weirdly giddy 8-bit Children of the Damned voices, relies on clanging, whooshing metallic sounds for beats. They make it his harshest song yet, while somehow remaining cheerful bordering on derangement. It sounds like the aforementioned soda factory shut down for safety reasons and turned into an illegal club space that is actively falling apart. The dancers keep dancing, too wasted to be alarmed. (There is precedent for this scenario. As imaginary teens have long been aware, screws fall out all the time, the world is an imperfect place.) 


This week he somehow topped both with “Hey QT”, a track produced in tandem with PC Music label head A.G. Cook for a new female pop-star ingenue, who may or may not actually exist. Cook’s been on an extended roll for a while too, though his work seems heavily weighted towards R&B radio jam in the same way Sophie uses house music as a starting point. (If you absolutely need more of this stuff, try his track “Keri Baby”.)

Anyway, “Hey QT” rules pretty hard. 


Like Sophie’s other summer singles, the song seems to palpably speed up at key moments, too excited to adhere to normal laws of physics. But the trickiest trick “Hey QT” pulls off is flying so close to the uncanny valley without going full creep-out. Sped up to sound impossibly young rather than just annoyingly young, “QT” repeats her mantra, “Hey QT, even though you’re so far away, I feel your hands on my body every time you think of me.” There a tension here between the cartoon quality of the vocals, and the flush-faced sexiness of the sentiment. As anyone who’s ever accidentally stumbled across a DeviantArt image knows, the collision of kids’ cartoon and adult browser search term can get uncomfortable real fast. Crucially, the song’s in-head rather than in-bed. The fantasy element of the song keeps it chaste enough to remain relatively wholesome. It’s teenage longing rendered as a State Fair caricature of teenage longing.

“And what’s something you like that I can draw you doing? Attending a unicorn rave? Sure, sure.”  

So, unicorn rave enthusiasts take note, Sophie has two New York shows coming in a week. One next Saturday afternoon at the last PS1 Warm Up show of the year, and one that same night at 88 Palace in Manhattan

08/22/14 1:40pm
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08/22/2014 1:40 PM |

Attention, young and savvy Brooklyn-ites: The L‘s parent company, Northside Media Group, is seeking Event & Sales interns for Fall!

Interested in helping to organize some of our famed events, including Taste Talks, Northside Festival, and SummerScreen? Event & Sales interns will be involved in the planning and execution of these and more, as well as helping with large-scale advertising and sales efforts. If this sounds like it’s up your alley, read on for more details.

Responsibilities: Assisting with the development, management and maintenance of sales initiatives, aiding in the creation of blog and social media copy, light administrative work. Interns will also work with the events team to plan and execute numerous events. Interns are expected to help out at Northside events when available.

Qualifications: Excellent writing skills, WordPress, web-savvy, basic HTML preferred. Must be able to commit to two days (16 hours) in office per week, and be willing to help out at company events outside of these hours.

To apply: Please send a cover letter and resume to

We can’t wait to hear from you!

08/22/14 11:20am

The title of the series “Strange Lands: International Sci-Fi,” beginning tonight at The Film Society of Lincoln Center, has a rather obvious double meaning: visions of the world beyond the stars, from the world beyond our borders. (The series was programmed by Nicolas Rapold, who is, of course, the L’s senior film critic.)

This is especially the case given that all but three titles in the eleven-film series come from Eastern Bloc countries, and all come from the Cold War era—they are, then, the products of the ultimate alternate universe. Looking for clips for this playlist, I was somewhat surprised, though I shouldn’t have been, by how many fan-made trailers I was able to find for Kin-dza-dza!, a late Soviet comedy about two classic bickering, bumbling types stranded in a ramshackle world far, far away:


There is the potential, in the socialist-sci-fi genre, for both state-sponsored utopianism, and sneaky allegory; the Czech film The End of August at the Hotel Ozone (from 1967, the year before the Prague Spring), offers a dark vision of the sort of humanity likely to survive a nuclear war:

The title of “Strange Lands” also has a triple meaning, as Eric Hynes has pointed out in the Times: these are also the visions of another time, from whence, perhaps, comes the series’ not-inconsiderable camp factor. The past is a foreign country and they do things differently there, after all, including imagine the future. Particularly one of my favorite Pop Art films, The 10th Victim, and its monochromatic, plasticine, proudly commercialized sex-sells dystopia:

The series depicts many different epochs of technology—via both the stories depicted in the film and, as the linked-to “General Purpose Robot” clip above indicates, the means available to the filmmakers.

Indeed, it seems as though the definition of “science” in this science fiction series is quite capacious. It encompasses everything from space exploration, to 20th century medicine (via the adaptation of Stanislaw Lem’s early novel Hospital of the Transfiguration), to the proto-cinematic 19th century technology—and hand-made animation—of Karel Zeman’s The Fabulous World of Jules Verne:

Arguably the greatest science-fiction film of all-time is, of course, a Soviet filmmaker’s Brezhnev-era adaptation of a Polish novel. Stanislaw Lem is represented in this series via the recent-historical novel mentioned above; other literary adaptations abound. The Strugatsky brothers, who wrote Stalker, Hard to Be a God and Dead Mountaineer’s Hotel, are here via Sokurov’s Days of Eclipse; there are also the Westerners Verne and Robert Sheckley (The 10th Victim), and South American Adolfo Bioy Casares (the Italian film of Morel’s Invention). And the myth of the Golem is handled in the Polish film of the same name, and given a surrealist, Solidarity-era dystopian update:

The series is programed as nightly double features, with two films each from the represented countries (plus Ulrike Ottinger’s Freak Orlando, which is a double feature, at least, in and of itself). In tribute to the juxtapository goodtimes promised thereby, we close with two very different East German films of the 1970s, In the Dust of the Stars and Eolomea, and their pleasurably mistmatched strains of soundstage earnestness and lens-flared, lounge-y trippiness. Here’s Dust of the Stars:

… and Eolomea