Ramblings of a Redhead Music Snob

Life & Music in New York, My City

Posts Tagged ‘dreampop’

And There Were 14 … Moving Panoramas

Posted by xneverwherex on May 21, 2016

Moving Panoramas
Rabbit Quinn
Upstairs at DNA Lounge
May 18, 2016

You know that moment, that you walk upstairs into a club, and you barely hear a sound… and you walk through the door and realize you are one of the only people there… now, imagine that you are the band.

Austin trio, Moving Panoramas, could tell you all about that kind of night.

The one question I repeatedly get asked (and wonder why people feel inclined to ask) is “did the band play” and “did they play like there was a full crowd”. First off, if a band has people at a show – I have never seen a band just walk off because there weren’t enough people at the show and secondly, I have been the only person at a show (which was awkward) and the band still played like they would play for a full house. Naturally, it means I also make even more noise than usual. So yes, they a) played and b) it was seriously kick-ass.

Moving Panoramas

Moving Panoramas

The trio of women were remarkably cool and funny about the show. The band addressed it early on and the crowd for the most part kind of sucked. The band said hello – and no one said a thing – I said ‘hi’ back and they joked that ‘well at least one person is here to see us’. But pretty much they just played all their songs and were so into it that they barely said much to us. Sure there were jokes about how we should all get to know each other as well as at the next show it would be so packed we’d have to push our way to the front but could totally say ‘i was there when …’. So yeah – the band was pretty f’ing awesome!

Singer/guitarist Leslie Sisson has this really beautiful dreamy voice that blends so well into their shoegaze-dreampop sound. And they have one of the most fitting names for a band. Their music has this feel of beautiful, moving landscapes that you can just lose yourself to. The guitar and bass just meld into one full sound. Add the harmonies from drummer, Karen Skloss and it just completes the band’s sound. And while the club was empty, their music filled that emptiness. It filled all the voids with its simplisticness.

Their album, One, is just a perfect blend of indie-guitar-dreampop/rock. With just enough guitars, bassist Rozie Castoe, adds a bit of the fuzziness of the shoegaze sound but still manage to keep it more on the dreamy side of things. Songs like “Magic” and “Tonight” get you lost in their sound. It’s the perfect music to just close your eyes to – hop in your car – and drive for awhile and get lost in this perfect ambient sound. I feel like the best part of their songs is the emptiness within. They were really smart with their songs in that not every moment has to be filled with vocals and it leaves a lot for the listener to fill in.

It was pretty amusing in that when Leslie wanted to dedicate a song to the newly married couple, that she noted that all their songs were way too dark. I think in the end, they chose “One” and said to kind of change the lyrics around or think of it in a different way. Sure their songs are dark and sad, but if you read Leslie’s stories between kidnappings and friends killed, etc. in some ways it makes perfect sense. Regardless, their band is one not to miss – even if you find yourself in a club with just 13 others.

Sometimes it’s about those awkwardly intimate performances where you both know that it’s just you and them. But if you’re lucky enough, the band will put on such a show, you will forget that it was just the 14 of you. Plus, by the end, you will all become friends and even get to talk to the band.

Rabbit Quinn

Rabbit Quinn

The other huge bonus to the show was the opener, Rabbit Quinn. A local woman who joked about wearing fairy wings and sneaking into the DNA when she was younger. From the moment she stepped behind the piano, and started her first song, I knew it would be good. She was the reincarnation? of Tori Amos. She was sorta like a cornflake girl, with great stories that were hauntingly beautiful.

Her vocals just filled the room and managed to hush the room with the few people who were talking. She commands attention with both her piano playing as well as her vocals. Her debut album, Lost Children, is dark and eerie and seems to be a story of fables. While it could be mistaken for a long, lost Tori album – she definitely is putting her own spin on it. She has some quite catchy songs that have you singing along. And it’s always great when a singer asks what you want to hear and then plays a song showing that she’s fully in control of the music and the set. She knew how to play to the audience as small as it was and knew how to have fun. One hell of a talented woman. Oddly enough, you can also see Rabbit, performing the national anthem at the A’s games these days. She’s really one to check out if you notice her name at any of the local venues.

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Black English – #OtherCoastConfiguration

Posted by xneverwherex on May 30, 2015

Black English
Vela Eyes
Meet Me In Orbit
(Upstairs @) DNA Lounge
5/29/15

Echo Park’s Black English (fka NO) played a couple of shows across the States leading up to today’s Bottlerock Festival. If I had been paying attention and noticing all of their #’s – I would have realized the show would be a bit different.

Black EnglishThe band is currently playing this small “tour” as a 3 piece band with Spike on drums and Laura Burhenn (of the Mynabirds) on keys. Naturally, you still have Bradley on guitars/vocals. Hence the othercoastconfiguration tags. It seems fitting as the band just finished touring with Yann Tiersen in Europe and the Psychedelic Furs across The States and Canada.

While it definitely lacked some of their bigger sound with the missing guitars, this worked out pretty well. I wasn’t sure how some of their more anthemic songs would sound, but with Bradley’s amazing vocals coming together with Laura’s it gave a nice change to their sound. I really was enjoying their harmonies and their voices had a beautiful blend. I felt at times that the keyboard was too overpowering and somewhat distracted from the songs, but overall it worked.

Suzanne” (Leonard Cohen cover) which features Laura sounded gorgeous. As the music goes from Bradley singing to Laura and then the two of them harmonizing together the song couldnt sound more beautiful. Of course, it was all about their hits off of El Prado and Bradley’s baritone did them justice. Even without the crescendoing guitars his vocals do wonders on setting a tempo — he had the crowd clapping along to ‘Stay With Me‘ and lots of fist pumping to ‘Leave The Door Wide Open‘. The crowd was very into the show with some people showing off their dance moves and most people just clapping and singing along and moving to the beat of the music.

Regardless of #othercoastconfiguration – the band surprisingly worked amazing as a 3-piece. Once you rearrange a few songs and add more keys and throw down some percussion – you get a pretty awesome ‘new’ band. Chicago, LA, NYC and SF were all pretty lucky to have them come through — hopefully theyll be back soon. And even more surprising, it was only the band’s second show in SF (which seemed to be a theme of the night).

San Francisco’s Vela Eyes put on an entertaining set. They have a 90’s vibe with one hell of a kick-ass singer. She tears it up not only vocally, but in her mini-dress and knee high socks really works the stage with some pretty great kicks. They have a Blondie kind of rock edge and blends a lot of styles together with some songs having a more shoegaze 60’s wall of sound and others just pure rock-n-roll. The other woman on keyboards adds backing vocals which are a nice blend (although at times hard to hear). Personally, I loved when she wasnt on the keys and was playing her guitar — loud fuzzy and lots of reverberation. They were quite good and well worth seeing.

And while I do love Black English, I cant help but say how excited I was to see Meet Me In Orbit on the bill. All of a sudden, the show was *really* worth seeing. Their first show ever (opening for Public Service Broadcasting), blew my mind away. So I figured they had probably played another few shows and were going to become huge right away, but was pleasantly surprised to hear it was only their 2nd show ever (along with Black English – albeit this was just their second show in SF). I arrived early enough to hear the guys (Jared and Brandon) finishing up their soundcheck. I only had one thought – it was going to be much louder than I had remembered.

So seeing their second show, I figured I’d be happy if it were even as good as the first (which was great!) and it was so much better. Its hard to say if the songs were more polished, or if the crowd which seemed to be all there for them was just more into it, but everything just seemed bigger and better. Their lush chillwave/dreampop sound filled the venue. “Last Time” sounded gorgeous and the crowd just swayed along to the music. Their electronic sound was just perfect with Jared’s vocals filling the room. And while a lot of the songs were more laid back with the chill vibe – they definitely have the more upbeat electronic songs to get the crowd moving.

Meet Me In OrbitThey just released their first EP Traveler with 5 songs. The music will take you on a trip and let you get away to the past for just a bit of time and what a lovely time it is. If you haven’t yet seen them (and odds are with only 2 shows you probably haven’t), the next time they do play (and hopefully a tour will come soon), be sure to not miss them.

Check out “We Are Grown” which reminds me of a cross between Chvrches and Little Daylight.

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Nonono Yesyesyes

Posted by xneverwherex on October 24, 2013

Nonono
Helado Negro
Rickshaw Stop
October 23, 2013

Nonono played their first show in San Francisco last night on their first tour of the States. Luckily for them, they’re playing Live 105’s Not So Silent Night, because I would have pegged them to become a one-hit wonder. How badly I wanted to like them, but the band for the most part was just boring and the words most people hate to hear – forgettable.

Stina

Nonono

Stina Wäppling, lead singer, chatted it up about how excited she was to be in San Francisco. She looked like she had just run from somewhere else and suddenly remembered she had a show to perform. After coming to the stage late (bathroom or so people muttered), and continuing to keep people wait, she finally arrived in a little black dress with her sweater wrapped around her waist and sneakers. I had actually thought I had stepped into the movie ‘Working Girl’ as she wore her sneakers with her nylons.

The band was a tight-knit 3some, with a really talented bassist. Astma & Rocwell were the other 2 members. While I didn’t think Stina sounded great on all of the songs, she did kill the single ‘Pumpkin Blood’ which was easily the highlight. The set was quite short and had a range of upbeat dance songs as well as much more subdued sad songs. Overall, it was just a bit lackluster.

Helado Negro

On the other hand, I had forgotten about Helado Negro (couldnt remember if I had even liked him or not). Helado Negro, Roberto Lange, now calls Crown Heights (Brooklyn) home but grew up in South Florida. His music has a very Florida feel. Everything that might emanate from living in Florida is channeled into his music. He sings in Spanish, and even if you don’t understand all the lyrics (or any) you can feel his music.

It has this gorgeous feel of tropical weather, humidity, heat. It makes you just want to close your eyes and move with the music. Its just him on the stage, with his computer, and its such a heart-felt performance. Everything about the music is almost dream-like. It just takes you somewhere and you get lost in it. Its definitely no surprise that he remixed Bear in Heaven’s album. Check out ‘Dance Ghost’ — a great name for a song and describes it perfectly.

He talks to the crowd, trying to engage them, but clearly San Franciscans are too cool for school. A major disappointment that the front of the room, would just not shut up. Its not even that – no one seemed to care. He tried to have fun with it saying something like ‘just add some hips in addition to your lips’. And of course, a cute joke about getting a taste of black ice cream (helado negro).

Roberto was very friendly. After the set, he seemed quite happy that at least some of us enjoyed it. I definitely feel his music has grown since seeing him 4 years ago. And I would definitely see him again – perhaps next time he will get a crowd who appreciates what he’s doing.

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Efterklang Entertains

Posted by xneverwherex on March 13, 2013

Efterklang
Nightlands
Great American Music Hall
3/11/13

The night had finally arrived and I was finally going to see Efterklang. I had somehow missed them in NYC even after I had tickets. I don’t even want to know why/how/what I was thinking. With that being said – after waiting for what seemed like forever – the band came out and put on one hell of a show.

The 3 piece band from Denmark (touring with an additional 3 people), were nothing short of incredible. Casper is an incredible front-man. He was very excited and beyond happy to be playing once again in San Francisco. Their bassist, Rasmus, had a huge smile on his face for nearly all the songs. He just beamed pure happiness. The biggest highlight of the night was easily Katinka. Her voice was just magical and it was surprising how well an opera singer fit in with the band. She just blended so great the way her sound mixed in with the songs.

Efterklang


Their new album, Piramida, is quite simply beautiful. Everything about the organic sounds, the way the music emotes, and how it comes together is just amazing. The band took field recordings while out in Spitsbergen (between Norway and the North Pole) and it fits so amazingly into their music. All these organic sounds layered on top of keyboard pieces is just something else to hear. You feel like youve actually been transported into this world — of a faraway place with nothing just you and nature and probably a lot of cold and ice. While its not dreary in the least, it does have that dreamy hazy sound.

Casper/Efterklang


The band opened with Hollow Mountain (off of their new album) with the haunting vocals/sounds from Katinka. The sound slowly grew with some sort of metal being hit (thanks to amazing work done by Mads) and then Casper joined in. It was a great song to open with. Casper is theatrical making great use of his hands and body. The set continued pretty quickly and included Apples (which really reminded me of The National) and Sedna off the new album. A lot of what they were playing was off Piramida, and really if you dont own it, you should. Or at least give it a listen.

One of the cool things about the show was when Casper started to read ‘cards’ left from other shows to people/friends and just SF in general. Some were about making sure to enjoying the beach – laying out in the sand – to others about friends missing each other – and my favorite about how awesome the band is and the friend was so grateful for sharing it. Those kinds of things are just awesome. Casper also shared the lovely smells of Big Sur in the form of a rock (or maybe piece of wood) that he shared with an audience member. And lastly, the show had one of the youngest people ever enjoying it. A little boy who might have been 4-5 showed up with his mom and asked to stand in front for a song or two. It was pretty exciting.

Nightlands opened the show. Their set was quite great and reminiscent of another Philly band – Sun Airway. Their songs had a great dreamy/psych sound to it. Some of the songs felt like they could have been from Snow Patrol with big sounds and harmonies. And it was great when Efterklang’s drummer, Tatu, joined them for a song. You could tell there was a lot of appreciation between the bands for each others music.

Nightlands w/Tatu of Efterklang

I wish I could be seeing them again — and next time hopefully they will play with a full orchestra. Now that would be something else!

Set List:
Hollow Mountain
Apples
Sedna
I Was Playing Drums
Step Aside
The Living Layer
The Ghost
Black Summer
Between the Walls
Dreams Today
Raincoats
Modern Drift

Encore:
Monument
Cutting Ice to Snow

And to the guy from last night – I will have the pics posted in the next day or two. These were off my phone. I apologize – but check back (or just go to flickr).

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Take A Summer Holiday w/Wild Nothing

Posted by xneverwherex on September 7, 2012

Wild Nothing
DIIV
Holy Shit

Great American Music Hall
9/5/12

I guess the summer holiday is officially coming to an end, so it seemed fitting that it ended with Wild Nothing. Wild Nothing had finally made it back to the West Coast according to Jack. It sounded like it had been quite awhile and the way Jack told how San Francisco was his favorite city, reminded me of the way I had felt about NYC.

The band, by way of NYC (Brooklyn for Jack — and Athens for a few others — as well as one guy still in VA?), are on tour for their second album, Nocturne. I wasnt sure how the album would hold up compared to Gemini (one of my fav albums quite possibly ever), and it does. And quite nicely. Maybe with a few more spins it’ll end up in that same category.

From what I had learned from their new lighting guy – the band is kind of all over the place when it comes to where they live. Im not sure how it works as it seems that Jack isn’t fully in control over every part of the music, but it does work. And dare I add, quite well.

Wild Nothing

Their music just takes you away to a dreamy far away land with swirling guitars, lush vocals and darkened lights that just add to the visual. For an hour or so, it feels like youre off in your own land dancing to infectious indie pop hooks. It still has the hint of shoegaze but its like the Cocteau Twins of the 80s and the pop sounds of The Sundays.

The guys all moved around aimlessly with the bassist jumping up and down for a lot of the songs and the guitarist moving back and forth in his own world. Jack, who doesnt say much, had some interactions with the guys but mostly he just played his heart out. He was definitely excited to be there and you could feel the energy from the crowd. As the first guitar chords begin on ‘Chinatown’ an excitement builds in the crowd. ‘Live In Dreams’, which has always been a favorite, has never sounded better. Everyone sang and danced and moved in a hazy dreamlike nature.

In contrast to the Pains show, this was a different experience where people were there just wanting to hear the music. The only real complaint was the sound itself. At times the guitars were just too loud and muddy and took away from the vocals, but for the most part it worked itself out.

And just because Im selfish – how about bringing back one of the best Kate Bush covers ever. Cloudbusting is such an amazing song; its rare that a band can do her music justice. But its one of the best covers Ive ever heard. And this coming from a music snob 🙂

DIIV (pronounced Dive and formerly known as Dive), another band from NYC, were one of 2 openers. The guys looked impossibly young and it was hard to believe they were even 16. The crowd were so into them and that was quite awesome. Some of their music reminded me of Explosions in the Sky but not as big as a sound. Lots of heavy guitars and a few songs with minimal vocals.

I remember liking Holy Shit and at the same time thinking what a horrible band name or thinking when is Holy Shit Fuck going to be a band. The band, which used to have Ariel Pink in it on the first album, is now a few guys from San Francisco. They play lo-fi experimental-ish jams and put on a great, really tight set. It was over so quickly that by the time you were into it, that was it.

Overall — one hell of a night with 3 great bands!

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