Archive for April, 2010

JudyJams weekly picks #5: Avi Buffalo, Untied States, Let’s Wrestle

As evidenced by the past few weekly picks, I have some record label favorites. And as mentioned in my first post, SubPop has been a consistent favorite for years. With the continued downfall of traditional indie-labels, it is all the more vital to support the ones that are important to me (and to indie music in general). I therefore present to you my first pick for this week, California’s Avi Buffalo.

Photo of Avi Buffalo via SubPop

They just released their self-titled debut album this past Tuesday, and it is a beautiful blend of alt-folk pop. Fun fact: Avi Buffalo was started by 18-year-old Avigdor Zahner-Isenberg, who met the rest of his band in high school in Long Beach, CA. Check out “What’s In It For?” and “Remember Last Time” from the album, and click on the band link for more info.

Next up is a heavier choice. I saw Untied States at Glasslands in Brooklyn a few weekends back, and they really were fantastic. Their unique take of post-punk is refreshing considering how many bands are out there doing this exact same thing.

Photo of Untied States via Distile Records

Their album Instant Everything, Constant Nothing is out on Distile Records now. A video for the band’s song “Not Fences, Mere Masks” and another weekly pick after the jump.


April 29, 2010 at 11:00 am Leave a comment

Hot Chip at Terminal 5

I LOVE Hot Chip. They are one of my favorite bands ever (I know, it’s a bold statement) and I always have enjoyed seeing them live. The first time I saw them was in the summer of 2006 when they played a free show at South Street Seaport. It was crowded, but not crazy, and there were some hardcore fans in attendance, but lots of people just came to check out the free music. The band was awesome and fun and everyone seemed to be dancing and having a good time.

Fast forward to last week when the band played two shows at the gigantic Terminal 5, with openers The xx. Brooklynvegan posted the below letter by Self Proclaimed Hipster, and I feel compelled to do the same:

Dear Hot Chip fans in NY,I went to see The xx and Hot Chip perform at Terminal 5 tonight. The xx were lovely, as usual. Jamie Smith totally rocked the MPCs as he always does; he even worked in some recognizable trance beats at the end of one song. Anyway, we all know how I love The xx, so let’s move on.

This was my first time seeing Hot Chip, and as long as I’m in New York, this will probably be my last time seeing them. THEY were great. I mean, I still don’t totally get why so many people lurve them so much. I especially don’t understand how anyone in their fucking right mind would enjoy listening to “Ready for the Floor”. That has to be one of the most obnoxious songs of my life, but Hot Chip are such awesome performers that I didn’t totally mind enduring the song. My favorite Hot Chip songs are the ones with a more overt R&B/hip-hop swing, like The Warning (which they did not play), but whatever. Anyway, they seem like cool dudes and their performance was great.

So why will I never attend another Hot Chip concert in New York? Because 90% of the Hot Chip crowd were utter fucking douchechills. Men, women, young, old, bros, non-bros – they were the most annoying crowd I have EVER EVER EVER come across. I am pretty tolerant of most crowds; I once had to endure Disturbed fans when I was 16. BUT GODDAMN, NY Hot Chip fans… you guys are assholes. You had no knowledge of concert etiquette. Some of you were big The xx fans, too, and you almost ruined that set for me, but my love for them prevailed.

Here’s the thing: you don’t fucking mosh to Hot Chip, ok? You don’t fucking pogo a go go here. You dance. You don’t mosh, you don’t crowd surf, you don’t try to start a circle pit. Fuck you, and stay away from The xx next time they’re in town. I don’t need to hear you yelling “OMGZ JAMIE I LOVE YOU,” you fucking teenies.

Seriously, congrats. Out of all the concerts I have been to, you are the worst crowd ever.



Lindserella and I got there late and totally missed The xx and most of Hot Chip’s set (it sucked!), so I don’t feel like I can give a review of the performance. However, I totally agree with Soma here about the crowd. Lindserella and I love to dance, especially to Hot Chip, but this crowd was so obnoxious that we were totally turned off. Just because we’re short doesn’t mean you can elbow our heads!

Image: Amazon

I will always love Hot Chip, and if you haven’t heard their new album One Life Stand yet, it’s fabulous (although I will always be partial to Coming on Strong). However, I’m not sure if I will jump at the chance to see them live again…I may just have to suffice with replaying their set at South Street Seaport in my head.

April 27, 2010 at 3:09 pm Leave a comment

Interview: The Ruby Suns

Lindsarella, JudyJams, and DevoLT were very excited to catch the Ruby Suns play a headlining set at Brooklyn Bowl a few weeks back, and they did not disappoint (opener Toro Y Moi was fantastic too). They played a number of stand-out tracks from the new record, Fight Softly, including personal favorite “Cinco,” which incorporates the bands Latin melodies with blips and synths. Favorite among the three of us are “Closet Astrologer,” a hazy pop tune, and Cranberry,” which starts off with spare drumbeats and then builds into an electronic Calypso dance party. The instrumentation and synth layering on the album are beautiful—though a different approach from their last album, 2008s Sea Lion, which was a cheery blend of psychedelia, tropicalia, and pop.

Ryan McPhun and the Ruby Suns at Brooklyn Bowl, 3/26

The group leader and only continuous member is vocalist Ryan McPhun, who has a hell of a voice, and he uses it to add another dimension to the already trippy sound. JudyJams and Lindsarella were lucky enough to score an interview with Ryan, who shared with us his musical influences, all-time-high bowling score, and favorite New Zealand breakfast.

TNJ: We had a blast seeing you at Brooklyn Bowl. Did you like the venue? I remember you saying that you bowled a top score that night, correct? How did everyone else do?

Ryan: Yeah the venue was rad! And yes, I did bowl a lifetime high score of 131. Apparently this is a shit score but I was pretty chuffed about it. Everyone else bowled like me, only worse.


April 21, 2010 at 10:06 pm 1 comment

Record Store Day “Haul” with Lindsarella, JudyJams, and Dougernickel

National Record Store Day was this past Saturday (4/17), and we gleefully used this excuse to go on a shopping spree. We enjoyed supporting our favorite local record stores, of course, and made stops at Soundfix, Academy Records, and the Academy Annex! Below are some photos of our “haul,” and, as you can see, we were quite successful:

7 Inches

First up, 7 inches! All limited RSD exclusives…Ted Leo & the Pharmacists with 2 non-album tracks from his latest the Brutalist Bricks LP, a Sharon Jones & the Dap-Kings split with the Budos Band (Sharon Jones tune from the brand-new I Learned the Hard Way, Budos Band side a cover of “Daytripper”), and Fucked Up‘s, at this point, annual RSD 7 inch, Spiral Scratch, with organ-drenched, psych rendition of “Crooked Hand” and a maddening check list of all their previous 7 and 12 inch releases. Also of note were a series of covers featuring their favored record stores from across the country; our (JudyJams and Dougernickel’s) copy has Spiral Scratch Records from Buffalo, NY.

You can listen to the track “I Learned the Hard Way” from the new Sharon Jones & the Dap-Kings album here:

Lee Fields & the Expressions, “Do You Love Me Like You Say You Do.” We also nabbed this killer single by the legendary Mr. Fields, also a Daptone regular. (Fields himself appears in the opening sequence of Sharon Jones & the Dap-Kings’ new video for “I Learned the Hard Way.”) This was his first single for Truth & Soul Records, released in ’04, and it features a B-side remake of his hit “Honey Dove,” a slow soul tune with a sweet-as-hell guitar lick. Butter.

Lee Fields & the Expressions, “Honey Dove”


April 19, 2010 at 3:49 pm Leave a comment

JudyJams weekly picks #4: Kill Rock Stars

This week the focus is on the eternal purveyor of excellent music: Kill Rock Stars. Let’s start out with a free sampler that the Seattle-based label put out last week, that you can download here.

Sampler cover via Kill Rock Stars

The cover art is certainly the Best EVER, but then again, I’m partial to the kitty cats. The sampler has songs from Unwound, The Thermals, Panther, The Paper Chase, and many more. Check it out!

The label recently announced some exciting news: Corin Tucker from Sleater-Kinney will be putting out her first solo album! She will be joined by Sara Lund (Unwound) and Seth Lorinczi (Golden Bears). That’s all the news that I have now, but you can read an interview she did with the Portland Mercury to find out more info here. I will keep everyone posted when songs arrive!

Lastly, I’m excited about the release of the new album by Horse Feathers.

Photo of Horse Feathers via Kill Rock Stars

Horse Feathers play indie-folk in the vein of Iron & Wine, and have a new album coming out next week called Thistled Spring. You can check out a song from the album, called “Belly of June” here. US and Canadian tour dates below.


April 16, 2010 at 3:03 pm Leave a comment

TNJ Video Jukebox: Kick-Ass Women Edition

To celebrate this month’s release of Sharon Jones & the Dap-Kings‘ fourth album, I Learned the Hard Way (if you don’t have it already, getitrightnow here), we’ve put together a little video jukebox of other awesome women musicians we love. There are tons more, of course, so post your faves in the comments. More videos and more on Sharon Jones & the D-Ks’ upcoming tour after the jump.


April 16, 2010 at 9:52 am 2 comments

JudyJams Weekly Picks #3: High Places, Future Islands, and Garotas Suecas

It was hard to pick from all of the new music out there this week, but three bands caught my eye more than the rest. Thrill Jockey is consistently a favorite record label of mine, and I was very excited when they signed L.A.-based (originally Brooklyn based) High Places, who I had seen in various venues across Brooklyn. Their sound is a mixture of lush electronica and folky-pop, and their self-titled debut came out on Thrill Jockey in 2008 to modest success. Their new album, out now, is called High Places vs Mankind, and from the sound of the few songs I have heard, it is sure to make a bigger splash. You can download their new song “On Giving Up” here.

Photo of High Places via Thrill Jockey

High Places is playing Shea Stadium in Brooklyn tonight, April 8. (It was originally set for Market Hotel, but has changed locations).

Next up is Future Islands, a Baltimore-based three-piece who are putting out their Thrill Jockey debut, In the Evening Air, this May. The band has received a ton of online buzz for their quirky brand of “Post-Wave,” (their own term), and have been touring frequently, including many dates with good friend Dan Deacon. I saw them about 2 years ago at Deacon’s curated Baltimore Round Robin, and they stood out among the din. You can check out the song “Tin Man” here, and I will post the soon-to-be-released video with a review of the full album in the near future!

Photo of Future Islands via Thrill Jockey

Third pick for this week is Sao Paulo based Garotas Suecas (which apparently means “Swedish Girls” is Portuguese). They play a fun, modern take on Tropicalia, mixed with garage rock. The band has 6 members, and has been receiving an overwhelming amount of enthusiastic press. They are not signed to a U.S. label yet, but you can download their song “Codinome Dinomite” here.

Garotas Suecas album cover shot via AAM

The band just played a few dates in NYC at the beginning of this month, but I’m pretty sure they’ll be back again soon, judging by the tremendous reception they’ve received here! A video for their song “Bugulu” is here.

April 8, 2010 at 10:01 am 1 comment

Eat This: Where the Toast Comes From

Here at the JudyJams household, we have the luck of living very close to an amazing Community Market, and have started a weekly tradition of buying bread at the Orwasher’s Bakery stand. From this delicious homemade bread, which ranges from artisanal wine breads to Jewish Rye to Honey Multigrain, we make excellent toast. To top it all off, the man behind the Orwasher’s Community Market stand, Jermaine, is possibly one of the nicest people EVER. Always ready with a smile and a sample of bread, Jermaine represents Orwasher’s with enthusiasm. If you live in Brooklyn, you can buy the bread on Sundays at the Old American Can Factory until May, when it returns to its outdoor location on 5th Avenue between 3rd and 4th street. If you’re in Manhattan, you can go to the Orwasher’s retail location, at 308 East 78th Street, NY, NY 10075. Below, some photographic evidence.

Jermaine, the man behind the bread magic.

Jermaine shows us the bread options.

Close-up shot of the bread selection.

The bread loaves, ready to be bought and toasted.

In a happy coincidence, Jermaine is also a musician. He plays in several bands, none of which have websites yet! Will update when I have the info.

April 4, 2010 at 12:33 pm 2 comments

jj with Lia Ices at the Knitting Factory BK on March 30, 2010

Swedish young’ns jj played their first headlining show in New York to a sold-out crowd at the Knitting Factory on Tuesday. Opening for jj was Brooklyn based singer/songwriter Lia Ices, who played a pleasant and rather uneventful set.

Lia Ices with her band at the Knitting Factory

We were mostly just psyched to see jj; after hearing and loving their album jj N° 2 when it hit the US last Summer, we were looking forward to hearing their woozy pop tunes live. Unfortunately for jj, woozy translates to drowsy, especially when there is little to watch! The duo, who prefer to remain rather anonymous in the media (their tour manager assured me that it would be difficult to get an interview and that they wouldn’t want to see this blog post!), had little to no stage presence. The singer, who only goes by Elin, started out the set seated, with a few guitar-only tunes including her cover The Game’s of “My Life.”

jj singer Elin starting the set with some acoustic guitar

The lack of energy was only emphasized by the lack of live instrumentation—the entire set was mostly prerecorded. Elin looked uncomfortable on the stage by herself, and only smiled when guitarist Joakim was on stage with her. The crowd was excited to hear some favorites from both N° 2 and the new album, N° 3, including “Ecstacy,” “From Africa to Malaga,” and “Let Go.” For music that sounds so enticing on an Ipod, we expected more from the live show. Maybe some instrumentation, at least? A word or two? Any indication that Elin wanted to be there? The audience was definitely excited—guys behind us were hooting throughout the set and shouting song requests. Elin barely moved. Needless to say, we were disappointed.

Elin and Joakim on stage together, hair in faces

The set closed with Elin and her guitar again, this time with a cover of Roky Erickson’s “It’s a Cold Night for Alligators” (which was the only exciting, eye-opening moment of the night for us. See our writeup on Roky’s new endeavors here). We think (and hope) that jj’s aloofness can be chalked up to youth and inexperience, specifically in regard to touring. We had the same reaction after seeing the xx a few months back—great songs but also very little energy in performance. JudyJams saw them again on Wednesday (with opener jj, who did a similar set and seemed petrified of the large crowd), and the Brits in the xx were much improved. Guess it just takes time and practice. We will hold out for jj!

April 2, 2010 at 5:56 pm Leave a comment

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