Daughters at Warsaw
I didn’t see how it was possible for Daughters to capture the intense mood and sense of dread that is found on their latest album. Listening to You Won’t Get What You Want drags you to such a state of unease anxiety, that a live setting would feel awkward. Boy was I wrong. The band pulled off the complicated abstract shrills in front of a ravenous crowd. The energy was palpable and downright scary being surrounded by possessed bodies.
clipping. at Zone One
Clipping previewed their new album to the smaller stage at Elsewhere. They played a tight set of their experimental hip-hop, including some of from their yet to be released There Existed an Addiction to Blood. Sharp dynamics and a great crowd.
Caoline Polachek at Bowery Ballroom
I was excited to see a live performance by Caroline as I was already immersed in the world of her new album Pang. The new songs came alive and made me appreciate them in an entirely different light. Her stage presence and visual backdrops were beautiful and technically clever. She plays again in January.
Ken Stringfellow at Mercury Lounge Touched came out on a dubious release date of 9/11/2001. A day for me filled with confusion and sadness. Despite the timing, Ken’s album came out it exactly at the time we needed. The album was filled with songs of grief and healing. I was unsure of many things that week including whether anything would be back to normal. When Ken decided to play in NY nine days later it was the beginning of a return to something familiar and feeling safe. As the city still smoldered, Ken played an emotional set to about 50 people that were encapsulated with sadness but also needed some comfort. For Mercury Lounge’s 25th Anniversary Ken revisited Touched to reconnect with a city and to bring songs of the celebration of life, renewal, resilience and joy.
Youth Code at Elsewhere
Youth Code gave one of their best performances I’ve seen from them and gave one of the most intense shows of the year. They brought a total assault with their relentless energy. The set was full of their aggressive tracks as well as unveiling some incredible new ones.
JPGMAFIA at Music Hall of Williamsburg
Sold out, sweaty, frenetic show. A one man tour de force who did not disappoint.
Health at Elsewhere
I was very excited to catch HEALTH live supporting their solid V4. Slaves of Fear. However the lack of charisma and energy made the show boring, especially after being upstaged by openers Youth Code. HEALTH shows usually contain an intensity that makes their music even more captivating. They played one of the best shows ever at Market Hotel in 2016 but this show was a far departure from that. The sound, performance and crowd never really reached the frenetic pace you’d expect. They closed the evening with Youth Code coming out to play Innocence (my fav song of 2018) and was the only redeeming moment by blasting out the best closer of any show.
Black Midi at Warsaw
I unfortunately had to walk out on Black Midi. The sound at Warsaw was terrible and the live performance was bland and sloppy. Disappointed that the band couldn’t match the beautiful elements found on Schlagenheim, one of my favorite albums of this year.
So many great albums came out these past few months to close out the year it’s hard to keep up! This year’s Best List is going to be especially hard.
But before that chaos ensues, let’s take a look at who’s coming to town.
JPEGMAFIA drooped a new album and hits us with 2 shows. His last album was on my top 10 of 2018 and excited to see him live. I’ll be at the Williamsburg show.
Black Midi hits Warsaw with their incredible new album.
Guerilla Toss has a wild & wacky new EP record release at Trans-Pecos.
Alex Cameron plays Webster Hall and it is going to be awesome.
An intense double bill of Daughters & Health at Brooklyn Steel. I caught both bands already this year with Daughters playing one of the best shows and Health playing one of the worst shows, so I guess I’m 50/50 on this one.
Looking ahead to 2020, Caroline Polachek continues to tour under her new album Pang that is getting better on every listen. I was lucky to catch her last week and I might have to see her again.
Michael Kiwanuka’s album released a few days ago and it’s pretty wonderful so far.
I vividly remember hearing the opening guitar riff on What’s the Frequency, Kenneth? on Mtv. Back then that platform was one of the main ways I found out about new releases. By this time, I was already a huge R.E.M. fan and eager to see where their 9th record was going to go. The video encapsulated a new direction for the band while also making a commentary to their fame. Monster came out during an interesting age of media and music and its analysis is sprinkled throughout the album. Despite it’s negative reception I immediately embraced its uniqueness and listening to it again, the songs hold up pretty strong. Definitely worth revisiting these songs again and the re-issue is physically beautiful.
The beginning of 2019 has started quite strong.
Lots of good songs dropped in anticipation for new releases.
Excited for the following albums: Aldous Harding, Big Thief, Vampire Weekend, Tim Hecker, The National, Operators, Sky Ferreira, Tool
The months after April are always my busiest as the bands from SXSW make their way up the east coast. A mix of old & new bands are on my calendar, including a bunch from my top 100 list. Some highlights:
The Coathangers come back with a new release. Although not that crazy about what I’ve heard so far on it, their live shows are super fun.
The double bill of Black Belt Eagle Scout,Julia Jacklin is a must go show.
Three bands on my 2018 top 10 lists playing at the same time 🙁 Camp Cope & Health w/ Youth Code.
I’ll be opting for the Health show so if anyone wants tix for Camp Code, hit me up.
Other top 2018 list bands playing live. JPEGMAFIA, Idles, Tierra Whack, MGMT
and Versus is coming back with a show and a new release.
I’ve added some up & comers to the concert list from SXSW bands that caught my ear, so that list will be constantly updated in the next few days. Currently working on my SXSW playlist.
Woohoo what a start to 2019. I have been eagerly awaiting this new release from HEALTH. They have been dropping these incredible collaboration singles all last year. Their song Innocence with Youth Code was my pick for #1 of 2018, so you know I’m hyped for even more new stuff. Just got my preorder and upon 1st listen it’s dark and beautiful. Not sure if I like it more than Death Magic but it is different enough to mark some new territories for the band to explore. The title track is a hooky gem and on constant repeat over here. And if you haven’t seem them live, get tickets NOW.