Cool Band/Song Alert – The New York Rockmarket Mon, 14 May 2012 22:05:00 +0000 en-US hourly 1 MP3: Hotfox “Mountain Tiger” Thu, 22 Dec 2011 20:06:33 +0000 hotfox the bandDrawing by Molly Crawford

Hotfox is a band that I found searching around for music for the show.  This song is straight-up pretty.  It’s a great study in how to gradually build emotion and layers in a song.  It’s the #1 reason I like this band.  The #2 reason I like this band is because they are from Bloomington, Indiana, and that is where my sister lived for a long time, and I know for a fact it’s a cool place.  If you’re looking for a song that matches your grown-up style angst (not as angsty as you once were, maybe more concerned about your immediate future and the fact that we’re all turning into robots, etc.).  Please check out the song, and stream the rest of their excellent album on their Bandcamp.

MP3: “Mountain Tiger” – Hotfox

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MP3: Alabama Shakes “On Your Way” Mon, 12 Dec 2011 15:19:07 +0000 alabama shakes bandI discovered Alabama Shakes in September, and immediately thought to myself, “What a great find!  I’m going to post about them as soon as I get the blog back up and running.  They’ll be a great unknown gem to get started with.”  Turns out I was only slightly ahead of the curve.  I mean, it isn’t hard to tell that these guys are going to be huge.  After playing a few CMJ shows, they slowly sold out Mercury Lounge and then somehow sold out the entirety of Brooklyn Bowl.  When I heard that, I thought I was confused, that the band had actually been more popular than I realized, but no, they’re just one of those overnight success stories (though this one has way more to do with their live show than the Internet, thank goodness).  It’s no wonder- Brittany Howard’s vocals and guitar presence are larger than life- surely a star in the making.  She sounds a lot like Sharon Jones- a seasoned performer who’s been in the biz for decades.  You can download more songs on their Bandcamp page– definitely worth the $4.

MP3: “On Your Way” – Alabama Shakes

Blog Is Back Wed, 07 Dec 2011 14:24:44 +0000 dwight smith record

Hello!  It’s been seventh months, but New York Rockmarket is up and running once again.  Over the last half year, I’ve spent all my musical energy music supervising a new show on ABC called Final Witness.  It’s going to air in March, and I can’t wait to share everything I’ve been working on with you.  Some New York Rockmarket favorites will be featured on the show, like Thee Oh Sees, JEFF the Brotherhood, Kurt Vile, Widowspeak, Young Man, Tennis, Parenthetical Girls, and I’ve discovered a ton of new music I love now, like Sean Rowe, Family Band, BOBBY, Barn Owl, Toubab Krewe, Katie Kim, The Bony King of Nowhere, and J. Pinder just to name a few.  I anticipate you’ll hear from me about a lot of these bands.  I also want to say a huge thank you to everyone who wrote to me when I shut the blog down back in May.  It was so nice to hear from people who had been reading– thank you.

I’m still frustrated with the state of music in Brooklyn.  I’ve admittedly been a bit out of touch, but I don’t see the same energy and passion from young bands coming up that I think I saw three or four years ago.  So many DIY venues have shut down, and the community feels dry to me right now.  I don’t think that the shift towards one-man(woman)-electronic-bands helps foster a sense of local community.  And I still don’t care for most of that music.  Still, there have been inspiring things happening since I left off here.  Amy Klein’s amazing blog reminded me of what I was hoping this blog would be, but wasn’t ever able to quite put my finger on- longer, thoughtful pieces on the state of rock and roll’s place in our cultural world.  I didn’t know a blog could be like that AND find an audience.  Impose Magazine continues to be a force for good in the universe, and I continue to run the photo section of their page.  And many of my old favorites, like Real Estate, have gone on to release incredible, mature albums on big-deal labels.  We’ve all grown up a little, I guess.  Still, my favorite things about music are angst, and rebellion, and that feeling you get at shows when you know that you and a room full of strangers completely understand each other without having ever spoken a word.  I’m still very confused about how those feelings fit into today’s Internet-centric music world.

With that in mind, I won’t post here every day anymore.  I most likely won’t write show suggestions, or post every day.  I plan to write about bands I come across that I like.  I plan to publish longer, thoughtful pieces when I’m able.  I haven’t been taking as many photos lately, but when I do, I will post those, too.  In the ethos of this blog, to be 100% transparent, part of the reason I’m posting again is so that I have a place to show potential music-supervising clients the type of music I like.  Not very rock and roll, and a personal conflict I will hopefully address soon in more depth.  But most of all, I will always and forever love good music, and have a compulsion to share it with others.

In that case, I’m very excited for my first new MP3.  It’s from a former classmate of mine at Swarthmore, Dwight Smith.  I’ve known Dwight to be a multi-talented guy for years, but I was pretty damn impressed when I heard these new tracks from him.  The Neutral Milk Hotel/Sufjan influences are there, but Dwight’s voice is clearly special and unique, and blends perfectly with the DIY-folk production of this track.  Check it out below, and visit his Bandcamp to pay what you wish to download another track, too.

MP3: “Ruins” – Dwight Smith

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Two Cool New Bands: Left & Right and Ravenous Tue, 04 Jan 2011 18:55:17 +0000 left & right band

I’m particularly excited about these two bands because they are both playing the NYRM two year anniversary show at Shea Stadium on the 15th.  More on that tomorrow, but for now, I want to introduce you to these bands, both of whom have found their way into my inbox over the last couple of months.  They’ve got a lot in common: a bro rock feel, a decidedly raw edge to them, and what I hear as a lot of potential.  They’re also straight-up rock bands, which you know is a quality I’ve been missing the past couple of months.

Left & Right are from Charlottesville, VA, and their song “Teenage Wasteland” immediately caught my attention.  It’s a little bit like older Abe Vigoda crossed with Eternal Summers.  Simple melodies and choruses, with big guitar parts and some sweet guitar solos.  It’s a sick song.  I have no idea what they’ll be like live, but I’m excited to find out.  I looked them up on Hype Machine to see if anyone else had blogged about them, and this was the only post that came up.  I don’t know if they’re actually bus drivers from the University Transit Service, but that would definitely make me more excited to have them come play the birthday show.

Ravenous are from Brooklyn, though only recently so, I believe.  This band sounds like your older brother’s high school band.  I don’t mean to come off negative here- just hold on a few more sentences- but the singer’s voice pushes the tolerably-whiny envelope, all the parts are a little sloppy, and some of the guitar parts rely really, really heavily on cheesy effects pedals.  I don’t think these guys are your typical Bushwick arty-hipsters-in-residence.  But seriously- these aren’t bad things.  Remember how awesome you thought your older brother’s band was when your were a freshman and he was a senior?  Remember how triumphantly fun and un-self-conscious those songs were?  Well, Ravenous is sort of like that, but all supported by very good songwriting that’s way more experienced than an 18 year old’s.  Take a listen to “Saltwater Taffy (The Dock).”  That is an excellent song.  It’s got the perfect kind of build that makes me want to burn it onto a cd a bunch of times in a row and drive around for an hour aimlessly.  I think this band is still searching for their own sound, but they’ve got a lot of great influences in there (I hear a lot of Pavement and a lot of Weezer), and I can’t wait to see how they progress.

MP3: “Teenage Wasteland” – Left & Right

MP3: “Saltwater Taffy (The Dock)” – Ravenous

Sweet New MP3: Tonstartssbandht’s “Preston ‘Great Ass’ Imfat” Tue, 16 Nov 2010 21:54:14 +0000 tonstartssbandht

This song has been kicking around since mid-October, and I’ve been meaning to post about since, especially after catching Tonstartssbandht at Bruar Falls.  I’ve been pretty down on music lately.  Everything seems so safe to me, either a retreading of trends from the past two years or a retreading of 80s mall music.  But this track from Tonstartssbandht offers me a huge, glimmery glimmer of hope.  Coming from a band that pretty much pounds through their manic guitar songs live, this track shows a huge range of breadth.  It starts out cute and acoustic, then moves into some Beatles-esque melodies, and then finishes with 60s doo-wop vocals filtered through a male-harmonic Akron/Family lens.  The point is, they can do a lot, and they do do a lot.  But the song isn’t just wide-ranging for the hell of it- these brothers are clearly excellent melody-crafters and have what feels to me to be a very unique point of view.  I’m really glad they’re sharing it with us.  I like them best of all because they don’t feel trendy when I’m listening to or watching them- they just feel good.

Mp3: “Preston ‘Great-Ass’ Imfat” – Tonstartssbandht

Cool New Album: Sex With An X by The Vaselines Tue, 14 Sep 2010 04:02:33 +0000 Sex With An X

I went to see The Vaselines last May at Bowery Ballroom, and this is what I had to say about them:  “They’re simultaneously the most adorable and most totally badass band I’ve ever seen.  Maybe it was the accents, but I didn’t know it was so possible to be so darned cute, even while discussing masturbation and blow jobs between almost every song.  At one point, France McKee stated that she drank the blood of virgin boys after every show, and all I could think was, ‘Aw, she is adorable!’  That perfectly encapsulates their music: completely accessible but with a very sharp edge.”

That holds true for the band’s new record, Sex With An X, an album that I recommend anyone who enjoys both fun and good music go out and buy immediately.  As an unemployed, frustrated 20-something, I’ve learned one very important lesson since graduation: you’re not going to be good at everything right away.  Doing something really well takes time and practice.  And no matter how much America values youth and newness these days, there’s no replacing hard-won experience.

That’s why, in a sea of “chill-wave” and 60s garage rock bands filled with 23 year old songwriters that are really good but not yet great, Sex With An X is a complete stand-out.  The Vaselines never made it big.  Yes, Kurt Cobain was a huge fan, but until their reunion a few years ago, most young music aficionados probably didn’t even know who Eugene Kelly and Frances McKee were.  It’s not as if this is some big reunion album by a hugely popular and influential 80s post-punk group.  This is an album by a reunited group of underground, with-it, and savvy writers, who also happen to have had twenty plus years of experience since their last album.

This reads on almost every song.  The band’s identity is so clear: a dark, dark humor framed by quick melodies and sharp, terse beats.  A lot of the songs sound like grown up nursery rhymes, sing-song lessons on how to deal with a totally fucked up sense of love.  The title track, “Sex With An X,” could easily be a track on one of those Kidz Bop CDs, which only makes it all the more biting.  Lyrically, the band is sharp as a tack.  Some of my favorite lines come from “Mouth To Mouth.”  “Kiss me I’m in season/You make me this way/It all could be so easy/Like kissing with a k.”  Simple AND brilliant.  Kissing with a K.  Sex with an X.  Someone got clever with their consonants.

There’s a really great Hukser Du reference in “My God’s Bigger Than Your God” towards the very end of the album, a well-placed reminder of exactly the type of sensibility we’re dealing with here.  Moments like that remind how wonderfully playful and referential rock music can be.  Because of the strange nature of their career, The Vaselines get to be playfully self-referential on their own album.  There’s a bunch of little things, for example, the closing track (“Exit The Vaselines”) is a play on their last compilation album, “Enter The Vaselines.”  It’s a fun, funny album that never even approaches the danger of taking itself too seriously as some sort of come-back project.  Of course it doesn’t.  It’s The Vaselines.

So, the band had suddenly found themselves in a very unique position.  They had the chance to make an album with a “cool” cache because of their recent renaissance, at an older age, with experience under their belts.  The only other band I can think of that’s really, really gotten to do this is Sonic Youth (who am I forgetting?).  Luckily for us, they seized their chance by just being themselves and making a natural album for them: funny, sharp as a chainsaw, and totally irreverent.

MP3: “Mouth to Mouth” – The Vaselines

Two Cool New Bands: Translations and Your Youth Thu, 09 Sep 2010 02:41:41 +0000 Your Youth

I’ve been digging really hard this week on Translations and Your Youth.  Two very different NYC bands, but they both have a lot of awesome in common.  I bet you’ll like both of these tracks.  Translations sent me an e-mail a few days ago with their second ever single, “Tarantella.”  It’s a stunning little song, just muddy enough to be thoroughly exciting.  It starts with what you think might turn into some sort of Boston-Irish muted bagpipe trill, but then it moves into this low drone with really nostalgic vocals picking up the spotlight.  The whole song flows beautifully, morphing from one catchy section to the next, with some well-placed steel drum songs merging in towards the end.  This is the perfect song for driving around to in the early fall, feeling nostalgic about beginnings of school years past.

Your Youth (pictured above) is an altogether different band.  This is the kind of band that you like because they sort of remind of your high school emo phase, but are actually really good and fresh sounding.  Their songs are straight-up youth anthems- Your Youth is a pretty perfect band name for the music.  I guess I have back to school on the brain, but I can picture myself resentfully pulling up to the senior parking lot in the beginning of September, annoyed but also kind of excited to be back at school, blasting this band, trying not to be a total loser, but being one anyways for not listening to Dave Matthews Band or Guster or whatever it was the cool kids listened to in Northern New Jersey in 2004.  This is that kind of band.

I’ll enthusiastically let you know if either of them are playing shows in NYC, and in the meantime, check out their MySpaces for more tunes.

MP3: “Tarantella” – Translations

MP3: “Awake” – Your Youth

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MP3 Roundup: Weed Diamond, The Corin Tucker Band, Ducktails, and The Hundred In The Hands Thu, 02 Sep 2010 01:28:19 +0000 Weed DiamondHappy September!  Time to get blogging again.  I’ve had a nice break, and now I’m ready with fresh ears to bring you the best Brooklyn has to offer.  I expect to be posting at least once a day, but I want to reiterate that I’m not going to suggest a daily show unless there’s something I think is actually really, really worth leaving your apartment for.  Also, the way the blog looks right now is still an in-between phase.  Expect lots of changes.  And don’t forget to update your RSS.

What better way to get started again than with some MP3s I’ve been digging on this week.  Let’s start with Weed Diamond.  This band from Colorado has been rolling around the blogs for awhile, but definitely still deserve a mention here.  They’re very good at taking a fun guitar riff, destroying it into something unrecognizable, and then coming back into it triumphantly.  In fact, that’s exactly what they do in “Field On Fire,” which you can listen to below.

I believe I’ve mentioned Sleater-Kinney on this blog a couple times before.  They’re that amazing 90s all-women band that once got made fun of on SNL during the Night at the Roxbury skit.  I think the joke was something like, “Oh man, I’m talking to a women’s study major, what am I supposed to say?”  “Just tell her you like Sleater-Kinney.”  Something like that.  Well, they were very exciting and a formative band for me, so I am very excited that Corin Tucker has a new project, aptly called The Corin Tucker Band.  This new song, “Doubt,” has been around for about a month now.  It’s harsh and choppy with the biting, angular vocals I’ve come to love over the years.  Not a perfect tack by any means, but it’s damn good to hear.

Ducktails has a new album coming out!  Good news all around.  This track, “Art Vandelay,” is actually going to be on an up-coming 7″.  It’s hazy, nostalgic, and fabulously referencing Seinfeld.  It’s everything we’ve come to expect from Matt Mondanile, who only seems to get better and tighter with each new release and live performance.

I’m throwing “Gigantic Tom Tom” in as my pop wild card.  I debated whether or not I should post it because the synth part between choruses is a little bit annoying, but I do like the guitar parts.  Plus, it’s got a nice hook, and there’s something about this woman’s voice that I like.  Their album is coming out on Warp at the end of September, but I don’t think that this song is on it.  It’s a pretty darn decent pop song.  Plus, every time I listen to it on my iTunes The Pixies play afterwards.  Always a plus.

MP3: “Field on Fire” – Weed Diamond

MP3: “Doubt” – The Corin Tucker Band

MP3: “Art Vandelay” – Ducktails

MP3: “Gigantic Tom Tom” – The Hundred In The Hands

Awesome New Album: Melted by Ty Segall Thu, 10 Jun 2010 04:31:21 +0000 Ty Segall

There’s been plenty of talk on NYRM about Ty Segall.  I’ve had a lot of admiration for the San Franciscan rocker for quite some time, digging a lot of his scuzzy garage songs, though not particularly blown away by him at SXSW.  I liked Lemons last year, but it didn’t make my end of year lists.  Still, it always seemed like there was something special about him- you could sense it there- but nothing was quite separating him from his musical peers.

This album though, this album feels like he’s really truly and finally arrived to where he ought to be.  Melted isn’t all that different from past Segall releases, but it works wonderfully as a set of songs, some of which are incredibly memorable.  It’s an album, album.  It feels good listening to it as a whole, like a little treasure you get to keep for yourself, the way albums used to feel before Internet singles ruined them.  One tangible difference on Melted is that Segall has perfected the old school jam-out.  Two of the stand-out tracks, “Casesar,” and “Sad Fuzz” melt into nostalgic jams on pre-punk 70s riffs.  There’s something comfortingly classic rock to this album, much in the same vein as Alex Bleeker tunes.  For all the punk and post-punk worshipping we’ve done over the past decade or so, it’s good to hear bands going back a few years further and combining the old with the even older.  There’s a lot of blues in the guitar solos, which also unites it with a late 60s rock and roll vibe in the most enchanting way.  These songs are like a bowl of rock and roll chicken soup, but with an exciting, new spice added in.

There’s also a fair share of weirdo songs on Melted.  “Mike D’s Coke” is a chanty tangent that serves to further endear you to the album through its vaguely carnivalesque strangeness.  On the other hand, many of the songs are about about girls and love and more girls.  Segall is a figure that people can really get behind- a hard-working songwriter who’s been around the block without having ever garnered too much success.  Now we’ve finally got an album to really rally around him with.  Sure, it’s another garage record for the history pages, but Segall proves with Melted that working at something a lot for a long time really does make you better at it.

MP3: “Caesar” – Ty Segall

MP3: “Sad Fuzz” – Ty Segall

Cool New (Old?) Band: King Tuff Wed, 09 Jun 2010 03:38:43 +0000

I’ve been pretty vocal about my love of Happy Birthday’s self-titled debut album lately.  Last week I was working at my internship for the company that handles Happy Birthday’s booking.  They’re always listening to good tunes in the office, and something really, really good came on that I didn’t recognize.  It was vintage grungy punk with some modern pop twists, with a singer that sounded so familiar in an inexplicable way, and also in a way that sometimes sounded like Television’s Tom Verlaine.  It was love at first listen.

When I asked what it was, I wasn’t all too surprised to hear that it was King Tuff, Kyle from Happy Birthday’s original project.  It’s definitely its own thing- more classic and derivative than Happy Birthday- but it still has that very playful, classically self-deprecating vibe that Happy Birthday gives off.  I’ve attached a few tracks to this post.  I hope you enjoy them as much as I did.

MP3: “Sun Medallion” – King Tuff

MP3: “Freak When I’m Dead” – King Tuff

MP3: “Connection” – King Tuff