Posts tagged ‘Tune-Yards’

JudyJams’ Top Album Picks for 2011

I decided to forgo my picks for Nov/Dec since this close to the end of the year, online music coverage is basically a race to the finish line for top 10 lists. I’ve spent the past few weeks revisiting my favorite albums, many of which I have highlighted in my picks throughout the year. Here is what I came up with, and I apologize for going a little overboard in the descriptions of the Top 5:

1. Washed OutWithin and Without
(Image via SubPop.com)
This record received so much gushing press before its release that I almost didn’t bother listening. I’m so glad that I didn’t trust my instincts. Washed Out’s debut is a well-balanced, perfectly graceful album that I want to listen to over and over again. In the coldest months of January, I’ll be grateful to have such relaxing, summer songs on my iPod as I trudge through the snow.
2. Bon Iver– S/T

Image via minnesota.publicradio.org

This man can really do no wrong in my eyes (perhaps the last song on this album was WAY too ‘80’s for me, but I can overlook it). It was thought that nothing could satisfy fans after such a powerful debut like For Emma…, but the self-titled follow-up really hit the mark. It was a slow burn for me, but it really hit home after I saw him live over the summer. I love when artists mix things up a little bit from album to album, and I see Justin Vernon doing that for the rest of his career.

3. Toro Y MoiUnderneath the Pine

Image via Stereogum.com

Toro Y Moi’s sophomore album is exactly the type of music that I needed when it came out: fun, quirky, and a good time every time. Each time I listen, I discover another song that I love. His mix of dancey, disco-influenced songs combined with smooth electro pop beats is expertly constructed.
4. SBTRKT-S/T
(Image via Sbtrkt.com)
An eclectic mix of a record that pairs the British DJ’s beats perfectly with a range of vocalists, including most notably Little Dragon‘s Yukimi Nagano on the song “Wildfire.” To me, this is one of the successful DJ/electronic/vocal combo albums of the year, even though SBTRKT is sure to be overshadowed by the likes of James Blake and Burial.

5. Wye OakCivilian

Image via Tumblr.com

After hearing so much about this band, I had to hang my head in shame when I discovered how far behind I was. Civilian was one of the best indie-rock records I have heard all year. It is an album on which literally EVERY song is good. The dual male/female vocalist pairing, with a heavy emphasis on dark harmonies, hits all the right notes for me.

6. Zola JesusConatus

Image via Wikipedia.org

After teasing us with a dark and wonderful EP last year showcasing her beautiful (classically trained) voice, Zola Jesus finally released her full length and I haven’t stopped listening since.

7. tUnE-yArDs whokill

Image via Amazon.com

Merrill Garbus is my hero, and “Bizness” is one of the best songs of the year, hands down.

8. The AntlersBurst Apart

Image via Amazon.com

A very successful sophomore effort that made me go back and reconsider the debut.

9. Wild Flag– S/T

Image via Wikipedia.org

These ladies rule my world. Nothing will ever replace Sleater-Kinney, but this record comes pretty damn close.

10. Peaking Lights936

Image via Gorilla Vs Bear.net

This was my “ignore-everyone-on-the -subway-and-enjoy-beautiful-music” record. It worked out very nicely.

(Honorable mentions after the jump) (more…)

December 6, 2011 at 4:47 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 thelmagazine.com

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 Junip.net

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 GBV.com

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 LowerDens.com

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 TheRadioDept.com

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 rarariot.com

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

Photo via SonicYouth.com

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 ceelogreen.com

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

SXSW Highlights: A Pictorial of Music and Breakfast

It's SXSW all day every day at Stubb's in Austin. At least until the Gospel Brunch.

Merrill Garbus of tUnE-yArDs means business at the Other Music Lawn Party at French Legation on Friday, March 18

A horn section is always a good idea. These two played with tUnE-yArDs at French Legation as part of Other Music's Lawn Party.

tUnE-yArDs were the perfect band to play at Other Music's Lawn Party at French Legation. Lots of sun and grass and a big blue sky were the perfect backdrop for songs both old and new.

James Blake drew a huge crowd at the French Legation for Other Music's Lawn Party.

The Lawn Party's tent was filled with cloth flags--and lots of people. James Blake and his band impressed sxsw-goers with their stark brand of synth music.

 

Kurt Vile was obscured by his long hair most of the time, but at Club Deville he played a good mix of songs from his new album, Smoke Ring for My Halo.

 

Despite some technical issues with sound, and our vision being blocked by the dude in the green hat, Brooklyn's own Glasser played a lively set of songs from her debut Ring at Club Deville.

 

Since her sound equipment died at the end of her set, Glasser finished up with a beautiful a capella song.

And how could we not mention the breakfast tacos? More than one trip was made to Taco Deli, where many breakfast tacos were consumed. This one is the El Popeye, with spinach, egg, and queso fresco.

Taco Deli lets you choose your taco fillings if you desire. This is the potato, bean, and cheese selection.

 

This is the Jess Special; a Migas taco with fresh avocado and cheese!

There are lots more photos after the jump!

(more…)

April 11, 2011 at 3:32 pm 2 comments

Dan Deacon at Red Hook Park and Recommended Free Outdoor Shows

Dan Deacon at Red Hook Park

Baltimorean Dan Deacon has been a darling of the Brooklyn scene for the past 5 years or so, endearing promoters like Todd P and creating some of the best music events turned dance parties in the city. His last album, 2009’s Bromst, was well-received but Deacon hadn’t played in Brooklyn since, I believe, last summer’s show with No Age and Deerhunter at Brooklyn Bowl. So, it was with great excitement that the crowd welcomed him to Red Hook Park last month (June 16), as part of Summerstage‘s “expansion” shows (Summerstage is normally always held at Central Park, but this year some shows are being held at various parks around the city).

Dan Deacon at Red Hook Park

Dan Deacon at Red Hook Park

First of all, I don’t understand why they don’t have more shows at this location–it was great! Plenty of room, good sound, and, well, not so convenient to get to (I recommend biking!). It was easy to get a good view of Deacon’s onstage antics and the crowd surfing was plentiful. Deacon played songs from various previous albums as well as a few new ones. He led the crowd in some synchronized dance moves, encouraged hula hooping and organized a dance contest. The crowd was happy and friendly and Deacon seemed pleased as punch to be there.

Dan Deacon at Red Hook Park

Dan Deacon at Red Hook Park

As my first free outdoor show of the summer, it was a winner. And in case you’re wondering what other outdoor shows I’m excited about, here you go:

What are you looking forward to??? More Dan Deacon pictures after the jump!

(more…)

July 9, 2010 at 3:07 pm Leave a comment


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