Posts filed under ‘Music News’

CMJ Preview 2011

It’s that time of year again, perhaps one of the busiest music moments in NYC: CMJ. Hopefully you’ll get out there and see some shows! If you’re not getting a badge for some industry-related reason, or you’re not getting a discount, don’t buy one! Just buy tickets to individual shows! Here are some suggestions of whom to see, with some brief descriptions:

1. Unknown Mortal Orchestra

Image via

Amid much internet buzz, the New Zealand band Unknown Mortal Orchestra are dipping their toes in the US touring scene with a big stop at CMJ 2011. They are sure to be one of the “must see” bands this year, and with such a catchy single like “FFunny Frends” it’s hard to imagine that the hype is wrong. The full album sounds like a lost Beatles B-side compilation from the Sgt Pepper era. See them live several times this week: Thursday Oct 20th in the afternoon at the Puma Store, and in the evening at Cantora Labs Smartlounge, and Saturday Oct 22nd at Brooklyn Bowl.

2. Small Black

Album cover via Small Black Blog

Small Black stood out among the throngs of bands trying to be heard during SXSW this year, so I’m very grateful that they will be playing (multiple times) at CMJ this year. Their debut album came out last year and they have been touring ever since, spreading the good, fuzzy electro-pop vibes around town. See them live in NY this week: Wednesday Oct 19th at Cantoras’ Labs Smartlounge, on Thursday Oct 20th at Tillman’s, and on Saturday Oct 22nd at both Mercury Lounge and Pianos. (The last two are late night shows so drink your coffee if you want to attend.)

3. Metronomy

Image of Metronomy via

I’m still kicking myself with regret that I missed Metronomy’s past few NY shows, especially the free summer show at South Street Seaport. Luckily, the British band is back and gracing us with their presence this CMJ. I’ve been a fan since their second full length, Nights Out, came onto my radar,  and while I haven’t heard this year’s release (The English Riviera) I can only imagine it will be more of the same upbeat dance-rock. See them live on Thursday Oct 20th at Music Hall of Williamsburg.

4. Emil and Friends

Image of Emil & Friends via Cantora Records

A relatively new band on my radar, Emil and Friends are another CMJ buzz band on the precipice of breaking out. Fronted by Emil Howard (and starring other “friends”), you can tell that the project is good-natured fun, not a serious hit machine. The music has a summery, chilled out indie-rock feel without being too saccharine. See them live Friday Oct 21 at Bowery Ballroom and Saturday Oct 22 at The Delancey.

5. Mice Parade

Image of Mice Parade via Fat Cat

It’s hard to believe that Mice Parade has been making music since 1998, because every new album that comes out sounds fresh and modern. Their newest, What It Means to be Left-Handed, came out last year and is more of the sweet, playful, multi-layered indie rock that we know and love. See them live on Wednesday, October 19th at Mercury Lounge.

Check out the full schedule here and make your own plan for the week! There are a ton of other bands I would recommend but due to my slacking, it’s almost time for shows tonight. Enjoy!

October 18, 2011 at 3:57 pm Leave a comment

JudyJams Sept 2011 Picks: Wild Flag, Sbtrkt, The Pack ad, and more!

Back to School time is actually my return to Picks time. I confess, I’ve been a summer slacker but I’m gearing up for the Fall music rush. This month’s picks are girl-power-heavy:

1. Wild Flag– S/T

Image via

It should come as no surprise that I’m excited about this record coming out on Merge next week, September 13th. I’ve heard several songs from the album and have the 7″ with “Glass Tambourine” so I’m pretty much sold. If you aren’t, check out this really neat album trailer video that they put together:

2. Sbtrkt– S/T

Image via

I discovered this album while it was playing at Soundfix, one of my favorite local record stores. I had heard so much about Sbrtrkt but never actually heard it; it was the right timing, and I purchased immediately. No regrets: it’s like the perfect combo between James Blake and Nightmares on Wax. The album features guest singers Yukimi Nagano of Little Dragon, Roses Gabor, Sampha, and Jessie Ware.

3. The Pack  a.d.Unpersons

Image via

More girl power! This one in the form of duo The Pack ad, whose fourth album is out on Mint Records on September 14th. They define the word “badass” and are like a tougher female version of the Black Keys. For those fans of modern sounding classic rock (sung by women!).

4. Jacuzzi BoysGlazin’

Image via HardlyArt

If their band name is not a riff on Beach Boys, I will eat my hat. They sound like a more garage-rock take on the CA band’s first songs. There are even some more spaced-out tunes that recall early David Bowie (see “Silver Sphere (Death Dream)” for a good example). Definitely something for everything surf rock/guitar rock fan out there.

5. Talk Normal

Image via The

Talk Normal doesn’t actually have a current release coming out, but there has been so much buzz about them recently that I’m betting they will announce something soon. They also fit very well into the “girl power” theme of this post, with a few exceptions (Jacuzzi Boys ahem ahem). Talk Normal are considered part of the “no-wave” genre, and the band consists of drummer/vocalist Andrya Ambro and guitarist/vocalist Sarah Register.  They’ve been touring non-stop with the likes of Weekend, Tara Jane ONeil, and even the legendary Wire, so keep an eye out for some stops near you.

September 8, 2011 at 4:12 pm Leave a comment

The Raincoats Are Coming!

UK post-punk legends the Raincoats announced a North American mini-tour this September to honor the reissue of their 1981 album Odyshape. The tour brings them to Brooklyn (woop!), Washington D.C., Montreal, Chicago, Detroit, and Toronto, before they hop the pond again to play the Jeff Mangum–curated All Tomorrow’s Parties fest in December.

Set for release on September 13, the reissue features liner notes from Kim Gordon, who had this to say about the band:

“It was The Raincoats I related to most. They seemed like ordinary people playing extraordinary music. Music that was natural that made room for cohesion of personalities. They had enough confidence to be vulnerable and to be themselves without having to take on the mantle of male rock/punk rock aggression…or the typical female as sex symbol avec irony or sensationalism.”
(Kim Gordon, Sonic Youth,1993)

Tour dates and more videos after the jump…


July 20, 2011 at 11:27 am Leave a comment

Northside Festival 2011 Preview

For those who have followed the rise of The L Magazine’s Northside Fest, they’ll know that it has been a quick and impressive climb. With headliners like Beirut and Guided By Voices, Northside has come to rival some of the best festivals of the summer. Below are some of our picks for the non-headlining shows. This is a fun fest, the tickets are affordable, and it’s all pretty self-contained in Williamsburg and Greenpoint, so definitely check it out if you can!

Thursday, June 16th:

1. Atlas Sound at Saint Cecelia’s Church (Kranky showcase) with White Rainbow, doors at 7 pm

Photo via

Headed by the prolific Bradford Cox, also of Deerhunter, Atlas Sound has a reputation for being an amazing live show event. And how great is the above photo? So wholesome.

2. Reading Rainbow @ Bruar Falls with Eternal Summers, doors at 8 pm

Photo by Peter English via

This will most certainly be a girl pop love fest. Both of these bands have recently reached my music radar screen and are really perfect for summer.

Friday June 17th:

1. Lucky Dragons @ Shea Stadium for the Redefine Mag showcase with Wires Under Tension, Big Spider’s Back, RYAT, and Duyun, doors at 8 pm.

Photo by David Horvitz via

This will without a doubt be a fun, interesting, mind-melding show of the greatest proportions. Yes, I do have a personal investment in it (I’m helping out with the showcase) but I also truly believe that all of these bands, most of which have visual projections to go along with their music, will blow your mind.

2. Frankie Rose @ Glasslands with Brilliant Colors, doors at 8:30 pm

Photo via

Formerly of Vivian Girls, Dum Dum Girls, and Crystal Stilts, Frankie Rose plays a solo show without her new band, The Outs, this Friday night. More girl band fun times, from a local Brooklynite.

Saturday June 18th:

1. Twin Sister @ Music Hall of Williamsburg, doors at 8 pm

Photo by George Kalivas via

I fell deeply in love with Twin Sister with their Color Your Life EP of 2010. I was excited to learn that they will be finally releasing a full length album in the coming months. This is certain to be a quiet, chilled out show.

2. Javelin @ Glasslands with Delicate Steve, doors at 8:30 pm

Photo via

I’ve been excited about Javelin ever since I bought their quirky electro-indie album No Mas last year on a whim. I caught a glimpse of them at Brooklyn Bowl last year when we interviewed The Ruby Suns, and their set up, which included then about 20 boomboxes, was quite the sight to be seen.

Sunday June 19th:

1. Yacht @ Music Hall of Williamsburg with The Miracles Club, doors at 8 pm

Photo via

Yacht, helmed by Jona Bechtolt always brings out the passion in their fans; this is partly due to the fact that they have a creative, unique, and perhaps even magical take on the indie-electronica genre. I’ve heard amazing things about the live show, where I’m sure they will be playing favorites from I Believe in You, Your Magic is Real and new material.

2. Diamond Rings @ Europa with Porcelain Raft, doors at 8 pm

Photo via

This should definitely be a fun show if you can make it through to Sunday night. Diamond Rings plays retro-inspired indie dance music, influenced by the likes of David Bowie and The Cure.

June 16, 2011 at 4:13 pm Leave a comment

NYC Summer 2011 Show Selections

New York in the summer can be quite unbearable: the humidity, the hot-as-hell subway commutes, the very confused tourists, ETC. One of the best things about our summers, though, is the incredible amount of great free music. From Celebrate Brooklyn to the River to River Fest to the Williamsburg Waterfront, you’ll never lack for choices. Here are a few of our top picks for summer shows, some free, some not. If you missed out on tickets, never fear: most of these are outdoors, so you can at least get to listen happily while taking in the local scenery.

1. Andrew Bird, in Prospect Park for Celebrate Brooklyn, 6/10, free

Photo of Andrew Bird via

Andrew Bird kicks off the season for Celebrate Brooklyn with a free show at Prospect Park! He will surely play songs from his latest, Useless Creatures, as well as his 2009 standout Noble Beast.

2. The BooksJunip, and Doveman, in Prospect Park for Celebrate Brooklyn, 6/17, free

Photo by Jon Bergmann via

We covered one of Junip’s first New York shows awhile back, and we’re looking forward to seeing what they have for us this time around. The Books put on an excellent live show as well. Don’t miss this one!

3.  Guided By Voices at McCarren Park on 6/18, $35 day of show (if still available)

Photo via

Guided by Voices put on an unforgettable live show; this fact is beyond question. This show is part of the Northside Festival, which takes place from June 15th to June 19th in venues across Williamsburg and Greenpoint. In the interest of full disclosure, I’ll be hosting a showcase for another online music site. More details to come, as well as coverage of the entire fest.

4. Lower Dens and Dirty Beaches at the South Street Seaport, 7/1, free

Image via

Both of these bands are new on my radar but their debut albums (Twin Hand Movement 2010, Badlands 2011, respectively) have impressed me greatly. I saw Lower Dens last year when they opened for Future Islands, and since then I’ve been looking forward to checking them out on a bigger stage.

5. Tune-Yards at Pier 54 on July 14th/Patti Smith at Castle Clinton, both free

This is a tough choice! We’ve seen Tune-Yards before and she’s amazing live, but Patti Smith is a legend. Either way, it’s a win-win, but for Patti Smith, you need to get free tickets ahead of time, either online or at the entrance to Castle Clinton the day of the show.

6. The Radio Dept at South Street Seaport on July 15th (free)/The Wooden Birds at Rock Shop ($10)

Photo via

Another tough call. Both of these bands are fantastic live, but if you’re trying to be thrifty, The Radio Dept is free. Count on it being crowded, though! If you’re in Park Slope and in the mood for a more mellow vibe, The Wooden Birds are a guaranteed good time.

7. Wanda Jackson at Central Park Summerstage 7/27,  free

Photo via Third Man Records

Wanda Jackson is the unofficial “Queen of Rockabilly” and has had a resurgence in popularity due to her recent album The Party Ain’t Over, released this January and produced by Jack White. I caught most of her set at SXSW, and while I wasn’t able to get too close to the stage, I could tell she still has “it” after all of these years.

8. Ra Ra Riot and Buke & Gass, in Prospect Park for Celebrate Brooklyn 8/5, free

Photo of via

Having never seen either of these bands live, I can only judge by how much I like their albums and how positive the press about them has been. It’s free, so no harm, no foul.

9. Sonic Youth and Wild Flag, Williamsburg Waterfront, 8/12, $32.50

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Go to this show if you can! Sonic Youth are eventually going to stop playing amazing, outdoor NY shows with fantastic openers such as Wild Flag, and you’re going to be sorry if you miss out. Don’t say I didn’t warn you.

10. Afro-Punk Festival in Fort Greene in Commodore Barry Park with headliners Cee Lo Green, Santigold, Fishbone, and including Janelle Monae, Toro Y Moi, Reggie Watts, among others 8/27-8/28, free

Photo via

This has to be one of the best line ups of a free festival of the summer that I have seen in a while. How could you pass up on Cee Lo Green playing with Janelle Monae? For FREE?? The schedule of performances is yet to be announced, but keep checking the Afro-Punk Fest website for updates.

There are only a few of the many live and many free shows. For a more complete list, check here and here. Enjoy your summer!

June 6, 2011 at 2:45 pm Leave a comment

Those Darlins: Drunk + Crass (+ Touring)

Those Darlins will probably kick your head in if you call them “darlin.” The Tennessee honky-tonk punks are releasing their 2nd album, Screws Get Loose, on March 29, and the first video hit the ‘tube last week. Warning: the sexy clip for “Be Your Bro” contains boozing, smoking, and scantily dressed Darlins.

Led by Nikki, Jessi, and Kelly Darlin, the girls sing about country living and country partying, whether they’re snaggletooth mamas who don’t own any shoes or getting drunk and eating a chicken—yeh, a WHOLE damn chicken. They’ve got the twang and snarl of Wanda Jackson, the punk ethic of Joey Ramone, and a knack for old-fashioned storytelling—an awesome reminder that not all modern country girls are glossy and bottle-blond.

I’ve never seen them live, but some guys I respect say that their shows are rowdy, beer-soaked parties. Actually, LOTS of dudes love the Darlins, probably because these ladies can turn them on, drink them under the table, and then kick their asses. Case in point:

So, feck yeah for a tour. They’ll be in NYC March 25 and 26, and in Boston on the 27th. Yarr.

Full tour schedule after the jump.


February 8, 2011 at 8:50 am 1 comment

JudyJams’ January Picks, and what music to look forward to in 2011.

I’m feeling very optimistic about 2011. I’ve just got a hunch, and there seems to be a wealth of good music coming up. All signs point to good things. Here are my picks for (some of) the best “upcoming” albums:

Photo of La Sera via

La Sera– I posted a fun video a few weeks back and now it feels like an appropriate time to preview the self-titled full length, out officially on February 15th via Hardly Art. Katy Goodman, the bass player/vocalist from the Brooklyn-based group Vivian Girls, strikes out on her own with La Sera, and the results are very pleasing. Her sound is more toned down rock n roll, but the vocal harmonies are in full effect. Check out the song “Devil’s Hearts Grows Gold” here.

Image of The Holidays via Press Here

The Holidays– An Australian indie-rock group poised to make a big break at this year’s SXSW. Their album Post Paradise came out in Australia last year and is being given an US release. You can check out their song Broken Bones (remixed by CFCF) here.

Photo of Mister Heavenly via

Mister Heavenly – I am especially excited about this band because it is a super-group combining Honus Honus from Man Man, Nick Diamonds from Islands, and Joe Plummer from Modest Mouse.  A mighty combination of great magnitude! And when they bring in Michael Cera, it’s indie-hip overload. Check out their songs via their page on

Several of my favorite bands from the late 70’s, including Wire (pictured below) and Gang of Four are putting out new albums and touring this year.

Photo of Wire (in 1978) via

Gang of Four’s latest is called Content (Yep Roc), and you can stream the entire thing on their website. Wire’s latest is titled Red Barked Tree (self-released), and you listen to songs from the record on their site as well.

Lastly, the Ducktails album Ducktails III: Arcade Dynamics came out earlier this month via Woodist and it’s become a quick favorite.

Photo of Ducktails via

Ducktails is the side project of Real Estate guitarist Matthew Mondanile, and the record takes a lighter tone though no less entrancing.

Some other releases out this week that I am psyched about: the new Cloud Nothings (1/24 via Car Park records) and the new John Vanderslice (1/25 via Dead Oceans). The new album from Toro Y Moi Underneath the Pine is out 2/22 via Car Park Records. Lykke Li‘s new album Wounded Rhymes is out on 2/28, and several songs are available to check out streaming on her website. You can buy it directly from her site as well.

There are rumors about new Beck, new Bon Iver, and new Radiohead albums, but so far, they are all TBA. I will keep everyone posted; also, if you’ve never been to Beck’s website, check out the mixes that he makes. They are excellent!

January 26, 2011 at 4:58 pm 1 comment

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