06.27.10 | Islands | MHOW

For the last night of the Northside Festival, I attended the show at Music Hall of Williamsburg. The first band was Steel Phantoms, a local act (which doesn't really mean anything when local means Brooklyn). I thought that their overall performance was rather stiff, the only one with any character being the drummer, Aaron Harris, who did double duty playing with his former band, Islands. Though they clearly had strong compositional skills, the vocal line in most songs fell flat. It didn't help that one vocalist sounded like the Killers' frontman, and the other vocalist sounded like the lead singer of NoFX. I think they were trying to do too much musically, and thus ended up sounding disjointed.

Active Child:

On the other hand, the second band, Active Child, was really bizarre and clearly thought they were better than they actually were. It all started when a grown-ass man started playing a half-size harp, shredding as it if were a guitar. Well it certainly would've sounded better on a guitar. It didn't help that he burst into an operatic falsetto aria. The male falsetto is an ambitious thing to accomplish successfully, and only a few can pull it off (Mercury, Valli, Jackson, to name a few). Needless to say Active Child fell flat (how do you like that musical pun!) So we have a man playing the harp, singing opera, and all this on top of a drum machine. I can't fathom that no one, at any point in their career, ever stopped them and said, really? You seriously are going to go out and sell this music? I had hoped that Active Child would give up the Madame Butterfly after a few songs, but he trilled like a canary through his
entire set. I was not the only one that was relieved when they left the stage.


Finally, after much anticipation, Islands took to the stage. I was looking forward to seeing them, more so because I like lead singer Nick Thorburn's previous band, The Unicorns (now defunct sadly) much more. But a band is 75% the lead singer, so I naturally took a liking to Islands. Thorburn, who goes by the moniker Nick Diamonds, is a modern day Bowie, in sound and stature. They played the requisite hits from new album Vapours like "No You Don't" and the title track. I was also pleased to hear songs from the only album I own, Arm's Way, including "Creeper" and "The Arm". They also debuted live a few songs from former albums. Since this band seems to go through a lot of line-up changes, I am happy to have been able to see them in this incarnation and look forward to seeing what Thorburn dreams up next.

And now, the crazy music video for "No You Don't" starring Michael Cera.


And now for something cali meets boston meets staten island

Boston’s own electro-pop ambassadors Passion Pit have been known for decent reworks of club favorites. The latest addition to their already impressive catalogue of remixes is a dancefloor-friendly interpretation of Katy Perry and Snoop Dogg’s ode to Californian beauties. Check it out below. Thanks MFR.

Or, P.S. 22 covers Passion Pit:


Local Natives Unleash Gorilla Manor Stems, Cover Television Classic For Aquarium Drunkard

This is pretty neat: Local Natives, current darlings of the summer festival circuit and the proud parents of the critically-acclaimed Gorilla Manor,have launched a microsite where artists and fans can snag stems of songs from the band’s Frenchkiss Records debut. In exchange for a few personal details (name, email, postal – voilà!), prospective remixers can download stems for Manor standouts “Wide Eyes,” “World News,” “Camera Talk,” and “Who Knows Who Cares.” And that’s just the first batch – more will be uploaded later this summer. Artists and fans can submit their re-envisioned track and the best will show up on the player for the world to listen to. Labelmates and recent touring partners Suckers have donated their remix of “Wide Eyes” as the inaugural submission.

Download Stems and Remix Local Natives:

In other news, the folks at Pitchfork have posted Local Natives’ cover of Television’s “Careful.” The tune comes from Aquarium Drunkard’s Television tribute album L’Aventura. Much like the blog’s love-letter to Macca’s RAM, the tribute is a medley of covers from the Television album Adventure and features bands from all over Los Angeles trying their hand at the quintessential New York post-punk progenitors’ brand of angular rock. In addition to being able to download the album for free from Aquarium Drunkard, fans also have the option to donate to the Silverlake Conservatory of Music in exchange for the tracks. The conservatory is a non-profit music school offering affordable music lessons, and scholarships for children that include instruction and instruments. One hundred percent of donations go to the school.

Listen to the Local Natives Cover of “Careful” on Pitchfork:

Download L’Aventura from Aquarium Drunkard and Donate:


06.21.2010 | Make Music New York: General Elektriks | Hiro Ballroom

As part of Make Music New York, a "unique festival of free concerts in public spaces throughout the five boroughs of New York City", I attended the French contribution at the Hiro Ballroom (oddly, a Japanese-themed club). A logical choice seeing as how Make Music New York is based on France’s “Fête de la Musique,” a national musical holiday inaugurated in 1982, but has now spread internationally.

I arrived in time to catch La Grande Sophie who I can only place in the American equivalent as somewhere between Paula Cole and Rachel Yamagata but with the grand aim of being like Feist. As this means that she ultimately falls between two artists that je n'aime pas, I cannot say that I was sad to see her leave the stage. I will say that I did enjoy the jazz influences in her music and the varied percussion knick-knacks she brought to the stage.

In an almost 180 degree change in musical styling, the next act, General Elektriks brought a raucous energy to the stage. The band is essentially a solo project conceived by Hervé ‘RV’ Salters, a French expat who now resides in the Bay area (by way of Seattle) and whose impressive resume includes collaborations with Femi Kuti, Blackalicious, and Lyrics Born. GE's performance was stimulating both auditorily and visually. Salters' clearly classical training is apparent in the way he owns the keyboard, comfortably navigating through jazz chord progressions and baroque keyboard solos. And he does it all while jumping about three feet in the air! He was not the only star of the stage though. His four man backing band included a guy wailing on the xylophone and a bass player who looked like a cross between Jimi Hendrix and a Harlem Globetrotter. With such diverse instrumentation which included the aforementioned xylophone in addition to guitar, bass, drums, MPC, and maybe three keyboards, it's no doubt that the end result mixed multiple genres. Throughout their set I heard punk mashed with funk, pop mixed bossa nova, and even some DragonForce. Unfortunately their recorded tracks do not do them justice; one must see them live to fully appreciate the spectacle that is General Elektriks. They are on tour now in Europe, so for those state-side, amuse yourself with this video:

As an aside, it seems crazy Hendrix/Globetrotter dude appears to wear the exact same outfit to every show.


Summer = Free Shows

Free shows, and a couple not free shows but worth the extra buck:

Central Park SummerStage shows

Mon, 6/14 Baaba Maal and Playing for Change 7:00pm
Tues, 6/15 Benefit Show: John Butler Trio and State Radio 6:30pm
Sat, 6/19 NYCPride Rally featuring Me?shell Ndegeocello, Martha Wash NY Gay Men?s Chorus, Vickie Shaw, Billie Myers and Bruce Vilanch 4:00pm
Sun, 6/20 Salif Keita, Tabou Combo and Lo?Jo 3:00pm
Wed, 6/23 George Wein's Carefusion Jazz Festival: McCoy Tyner Quartet with Ravi Coltrane, Esperanza Spalding and Francisco Mela The Stanley Clarke Band with Hiromi 7:00pm
Sat, 6/26 Tinariwen, Omar Souleyman and Toubab Krewe 3:00pm
Sun, 6/27 Gil Scott-Heron 3:00pm
Sat, 7/3 Istanbulive II: The Sounds of Turkey with Kenan Dogulu, mor ve otesi and Ilhan Ersahin?s Istanbul Sessions with Burhan Ocal and Tulug Tirpan, Sukriye Tutkun and DJ Salih Saka 3:00pm
Wed, 7/7 Nortec Collective Presents: Bostich and Fussible, El Guincho and Anita Tijoux 7:00pm
Sat, 7/10 Profitas, Maldita Vecindad and The Pinker Tones 3:00pm
Sun, 7/11 Jimmy Cliff, Trevor Hall and Victor Démé 3:00pm
Sat, 7/17 Raphael Saadiq 3:00pm
Sun, 7/18 Family Day featuring Ralph?s World, Bethany and Rufus and Cirquetacular 3:00pm
Wed, 7/21 Comedy Central Park The Daily Show and Friends Hosted by Lewis Black with John Oliver, Rob Riggle, Wyatt Cenac, Adam Lowitt and Rory Albanese 8:00pm
Fri, 7/23 Sat, 7/24 The Alvin Ailey American Dance Theater 8:00pm
Sun, 7/25 Bassekou Kouyate and Ngoni Ba, Burkina Electric, Fool?s Gold and DJ Frank of Voodoo Funk 3:00pm
Mon, 7/26 Benefit Show: The Flaming Lips 7:00pm
Tues, 7/27 Wed, 7/28 Benefit Shows: The Black Keys and The Morning Benders 6:30pm
Sat, 7/31 Jovanotti, Los Amigos Invisibles and Natalie Lafourcade 3:00pm
Sun, 8/1 St. Vincent, tUnE-yArDs and Basia Bulat 3:00pm
Wed, 8/4 Benefit Show: Hot Chip, Hercules and Love Affair and Holy Ghost! 6:30pm
Sat, 8/7 The Clark Sisters & Kierra Kiki Sheard 3:00pm
Sun, 8/8 The xx, Chairlift and Jack Peñate 7:00pm
Tues, 8/10 Complexions Contemporary Ballet and Dancin? Downtown Concert Winners 8:00pm
Wed, 8/11 Benefit Show: Gov't Mule 6:00pm
Sat, 8/14 Bachata Fest featuring Andy Andy, Luis Miguel de la Amargue, Elvis Martinez and Alexandria 3:00pm
Sun, 8/15 Public Enemy with 7th Octave and Blitz the Ambassador 3:00pm
Sat, 8/21 Chrisette Michele, Mario and Tamia 3:00pm
Sun, 8/22 The Specials - 30th Anniversary Tour with Black Joe Lewis and The Honeybears and $mall ¢hange 3:00pm
Tues, 9/21 Benefit Show: Pavement 7:00pm
Sun, 9/26 The Black Sea Roma Festival featuring Mahala Rai Banda, Técsöi Banda Selim Sesler & The NY Gypsy All-Stars and The Yuri Yunakov Ensemble 3:00pm

Brooklyn SummerStage shows

Betsy Head Park
Wed, 6/2 Roy Ayers with DJ Jon Quick 7:00pm
Wed, 6/9 Nice and Smooth and The Awesome 2 7:00pm
Thurs, 6/17 The Felix Hernandez Rhythm Review 7:00pm

Red Hook Park
Tues, 6/1 Jay Electronica 7:00pm
Tues, 6/8 Frankie Negrón 7:00pm
Tues, 6/15 Dan Deacon 7:00pm

Rochdale Park
Fri, 7/23 The Main Ingredient with Cuba Gooding Sr. 7:00pm
Fri, 7/30 Total Praise 7:00pm

Von King Park
Wed, 6/16 Big Daddy Kane with DJ Jon Quick 7:00pm

Bronx SummerStage shows

Crotona Park
Wed, 6/23 Brand Nubian 7:00pm
Wed, 6/30 DJ Kool Herc 7:00pm
Thurs, 7/8 TKA, Corina and Noel : The 30th Anniversary of Fever Records 7:00pm

Soundview Park
Tues, 6/22 Eddie Palmieri y La Perfecta II 7:00pm
Tues, 6/29 Papa San 7:00pm
Tues, 7/6 The Felix Hernandez Rhythm Review 7:00pm

St. Mary's Park
Thurs, 6/24 Conjunto Clásico 7:00pm
Sun, 6/27 Family Day featuring Jose Ortiz and Bombayo with special guest Dan Zanes and Jose Conde?s Baby Loves Salsa Noon
Thurs, 7/1 La Orquesta De La Gente and 8 y Más: A Tribute to Héctor Lavoe 7:00pm
Wed, 7/7 Hector Tricoche and Chris Alfinez 7:00pm

Manhattan SummerStage shows

East River Park
Tues, 8/4 George Lamond, Judy Torres, DJ Lucho 7:00pm
Thurs, 8/12 White Rabbits 7:00pm
Thurs, 8/19 Our Latin Thing with DJ Lucho: A Tribute to The Fania All-Stars 7:00pm

Highbridge Park
Tues, 8/3 Elvis Martinez 7:00pm
Tues, 8/10 Bachata Heightz 7:00pm
Tues, 8/17 Alexandra and Daniel Monción 7:00pm

Jackie Robinson Park
Wed, 8/11 Doug E. Fresh and DJ Dee Wiz 7:00pm
Wed, 8/18 Tye Tribbett 7:00pm

Marcus Garvey Park
Thurs, 8/5 Gil Scott-Heron 7:00pm
Fri, 8/6 Sat, 8/7 blood pudding: a play by Sharon Bridgforth 8:00pm
Sat, 8/28 The Charlie Parker Jazz Festival featuring McCoy Tyner, Jimmy Scott, Jason Moran and the Bandwagon and Revive da Live: Charlie Parker Revisited 3:00pm

Tompkins Square Park
Sun, 8/29 The Charlie Parker Jazz Festival featuring James Moody, Catherine Russell, Vijay Iyer and The JD Allen Trio 3:00pm

More info on City Parks Foundation SummerStage concerts here.

Gone to Governors Island
Sat, 6/19 The Morning Benders, with Freelance Whales and Wild Nothing
Sat, 6/26 Matinee NYC Pride 2010
Wed, 6/30 Passion Pit, with Tokyo Police Club, We Were Promised Jetpacks, and Suckers
Sat, 7/3 Portugal. The Man, with Alberta Cross
Sun, 7/4 She & Him, with Oakley Hall
Sat, 7/10 Lucero
Fri, 7/16 Caribou & Phantogram, with The Chain Gang of 1974
Sat, 7/17 Dr. Dog
Wed, 7/21 Edward Sharpe and the Magnetic Zeros
Sat, 7/24 MIA, with Die Antwoord, Skream, Benga, Rye Rye, Sleigh Bells, Theophilus London, Borgore, Destructo, 12th Planet, Nguzunguzu, Ninjasonik & more
Fri, 8/6 Corinne Bailey Rae
Sat, 8/7 Local Natives, with We Barbarians
Sun, 8/8 Josh Ritter, with Justin Townes Earle and Dawn Landes & the Hounds
Thurs, 8/12 Grizzly Bear, with The Walkmen and Gang Gang Dance
Sat, 8/14 Neon Indian
Sat, 8/28 Rock the Bells: Snoop Dogg / A Tribe Called Quest / Wu-Tang Clan / Ms. Lauryn Hill and more
Sat, 9/11 Panda Bear
More shows TBA. More info here.

Celebrate Brooklyn
Thurs, 6/17 Eugene Mirman and Pretty Good Friends
Fri, 6/25 Kid Koala: Short Attention Span Theater vs. The Slew and Hess Is More
Tues, 6/29 Passion Pit
Fri, 7/9 Ozomatli with Fidel Nadal and Toy Selectah
Sun, 7/11 The Roots and Talib Kweli
Tues, 7/20 Rufus Wainwright
Tues, 7/27 The National
Fri, 7/30 The Swell Season and The Low Anthem
Sat, 7/31 Sonic Youth with Grass Widow and Talk Normal
Mon, 8/2 The Dead Weather
Thurs, 8/5 Metric with Joan as Police Woman and Holly Miranda
Sat, 8/7 Sharon Jones and the Dap Kings, with Budos Band
More info here.

Seaport Music, part of the River to River Festival
Sat, 6/26 Apples in Stereo
Fri, 7/2 Yellowfever and Woven Bones
Fri, 7/9 Bear in Heaven and Zola Jesus
Fri, 7/16 Thee Oh Sees with Golden Triangle and Oh Cow
Fri, 7/23 Free Energy with Best Coast and Loose Limbs
Fri, 8/6 Yacht
More info here.

Williamsburg Waterfront (formerly McCarren Park Pool concerts)
Not free, but you get to see really great bands with a really great backdrop.
Sun, 6/20 Band of Horses, with Grizzly Bear and Karen Elson
Fri, 6/25 Silversun Pickups
Fri, 7/2 Faith No More
Mon, 7/5 Faith No More
Fri, 7/16 Weezer
Fri, 7/23 Modest Mouse
Fri, 7/30 Primus with Gogol Bordello
Sat, 7/31 Nas & Damian Marley
Fri, 8/6 Keane
Fri, 9/10 Spoon
Sun, 9/19 Pavement
Thurs, 9/30 Belle & Sebastian
More info (including free Sunday shows TBA) here.

Announcing: Free show with Interpol, Mark Ronson + more

Free show with:
- Interpol
- Mark Ronson
- Sleigh Bells
- Neon Indian
- The Rapture
- Die Antwoord
and soooo much more courtesy of The Creators Project. Registration ends at 11:59 June 14 and does not guarantee admission.