Ramblings of a Redhead Music Snob

Life & Music in New York, My City

Posts Tagged ‘power-pop’

Ex Hex ‘Rips’ and Killed It!

Posted by xneverwherex on October 22, 2014

Ex Hex
Wild Moth
October 14, 2014
Rickshaw Stop

Finally! A show at the Rickshaw Stop that did NOT start at 11pm. It must be a sign that Im getting old as those shows are always so insanely late. I guess those are just Popscene nights.

Ex Hex

Ex Hex

DC-based Ex Hex was in town ‘opening’ up for Speedy Gonzalez who I didnt stick around for. Its hard to believe that Mary Timony’s new band was not the headliner as everyone was there to see her and her new band. Mary Timony, of Wild Flag, Helium and her own band, as well as others, had formed a new trio with other DC natives Laura Harris (kick ass drummer) and Betsy Wright (bass/vocals).

The band was awesome. On tour for their new album Rips the trio played a fast power-punk-pop set. It had the all-girls feeling of The Go-Go’s if they were a bit more punk. The band started out with new single ‘Dont Wanna Lose’ which is catchy, fun, jumping goodness. Its just awesome. They wasted no time as they went from song to song with insane guitar playing and incredibly catchy bass lines. Betsy and Mary have great chemistry on stage and feed off each other, playing up close to each other, leaning against each other and playing the hell out of their instruments. Betsy has amazing vocals and sounded amazing on the songs she sang on.

Ex Hex

Ex Hex

It was a bit of a bummer when the sound totally cut out right after “All Kindsa Girls” and the girls were left on stage to fend for themselves. Perhaps its amusing because right before they played that they dedicated it to the bartenders and said ‘yes – we are really going to play this song’. Then, a total absence of sound techs (or pretty much anyone that worked at the club) and they had to kind of wing ‘Outro’. So instead it became an instrumental guitar heavy song with lots of drums and no vocals. I recall Mary trying to sing some and even in the front it was hard to hear a thing. I could watch them mouthing words, but it was pretty sucky. I knew at one point Mary was about ready to give up, but Betsy kept telling her to play on. Was so glad that they did and managed to do one more song. And somehow the mic started working again.

It was a really awesome set and the trio were awesome together. Theyre still on tour and making their way back to the East Coast again, so if you havent seen them and are a fan of either Mary or just incredible guitar playing/power-punk-pop music, make sure to see them.

SF-based Wild Moth opened the show. Sadly, it was impossible to make out vocals with such insanely loud guitars. It sounded so muddled that I couldnt figure out if the sound system was just awful at Rickshaw Stop or this was the bands sound. If theyre on another set, Ill definitely see them again to see if its any better.

Set list:
Dont Wanna Lose
Waterfall
Waste Your Time
How You Got That Girl
New Kid
Hot and Cold
Beast
Radio On
You Fell Apart
All Kindsa Girls (The Real Kids cover)
Outro (minus vocals)
Everywhere

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Wood Shoppe … Free Music!

Posted by xneverwherex on November 8, 2013

Strange Talk
Battleme
Aan
Brick & Mortar Music Hall
November 5, 2013

Wood Shoppe is a free night of music that’s held monthly at the Brick & Mortar Music Hall. I had wanted to go another night, but of course, I had a show that night and as it turned out the band I had wanted to see had to cancel. But I will be returning as it was awesome – and they had a really great line-up.

Strange Talk

The headliner, Strange Talk from Australia, was a band that I had been wanting to see for ages. And one, that I would have gladly paid money to see. I somehow kept missing them at CMJ. The band did not disappoint. They came out, introduced themselves by mentioning their Aussie accents (hence the band name) and then quickly proceeded into the ever-catchy ‘Cast Away’. The crowd quickly got into their music and soon there was lots of dancing.

The band which mostly uses keyboards/synths, did use guitar on some of their songs. Their music is very similar to fellow Aussies The Presets/Cut Copy with even more dance-y electro pop songs and their ultra-bright sneakers. As the night progressed, their music started to have more of an edge as more guitars came out and they started sounding like they could be the new version of Innerpartysystem. The lead singer sounded really great and has a smooth sound to his voice.

As they ended the set there was a pretty decent sized dance pit for this small club. The crowd really got worked up during ‘Falling in Love’ and ‘Sexual Lifestyle’ which also included a couple getting a little too into it. They ended their set with their first single ‘Another Day’ and even had a crowd sing-along. It was fun indeed and I’m sure in no time they will be playing the larger venues. Definitely a band worth seeing if you enjoy their music.

My favorite band of the night was Battleme from Portland. I had listened to a few songs and they tended to have more of an acoustic folk sound on some of their songs, but live —- its a whole different story. They killed the set with tight, hard-fast rock-n-roll with a bluesy/psych rock sound. The band, which primarily uses guitars, looks like 2 bands in one. The drummer and keyboardist, who were more clean-cut, looked like members of Strange Talk while the other guys (the guitarists) had tattoo sleeves and long hair. It didn’t matter – they sounded like one tight kick-ass band.

Battleme

Lead singer, Matt Drenik, has amazing vocals with a sultriness to his voice. The band really reminded me of the 90s bands like The Replacements, yet also had the melodies of the power-pop bands (Fountains of Wayne/Matthew Sweet). ‘Just Weight’, the single off the new album, is my favorite song with a very catchy sound and when the gritty guitars sink it, its just the perfect blend.

The band really got into songs with Matt really working every inch of the small stage. While their songs can be loud, thrashy and heavy they were also quite melodic. Their music really had the crowd rocking out. They ended the set way too early (or so it seemed) and had the crowd wanting more and calling for an encore. They finished out their last song asking the crowd if they’d want a slow or fast song … we went with fast and it was fast, loud and powerful and was one hell of a way to end their set. Definitely a band that needs to be seen again!

Aan, another Portland band, started out the night. Their sound tended to be a bit here and there with some songs sounding very emo and some being more pop. It was kind of all over the place and its hard to pin-point them with their musical style.

While some of their songs were catchy and fun, a lot just didnt seem to fit in with the others. At least the band seemed to be having a great time on stage and they were pretty decent (just hard to live up to the other 2 bands). And their name as they said is ‘on – spelled aan’.

Set List – Strange Talk:
Cast Away
Take Me As I Am
Is It Real
Wanted
Eskimo Boy
Cosmic
Sexual Lifestyle
We can pretend
Falling in Love
Climbing Walls
Another Day

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Its A Radiation Vibe Im Groovin’ On

Posted by xneverwherex on August 4, 2011

Fountains of Wayne
Nicole Atkins
8/3/11
Bowery Ballroom

Fountains of Wayne just might be the greatest power-pop band ever. Adam, Chris, Jody and Brian come (back) home bearing gifts of some of the most fun pop songs ever written. Theyre catchy, clever and Jody’s guitar drives those songs. The guitars on ‘Denise’ simply brilliant. Besides, these days its not too often that a guitarist has enough swaggart to pull out a cigarette and start smoking on stage while still playing and drinking. That is, until Adam comes by and then bam, no more cigarette.

While their lyrics may be beyond cheesy and simple, they no doubt stay with you and you find yourself singing them long after the show is finished. Its hard not to be smiling the entire show. The band undoubtedly is having as great a time as the crowd. Chris tells stories about Japan, a 36 hour trip (or maybe that was rest) and drunken nights in Japan. Whatever the story is, it always sounds like a good time.

FoW played a great mix of their music and included a handful of songs off their new album which definitely has a more country flair to it. But they never seem to lose their pop melodies that they succeed in. Most of their songs are accompanied by crowd sing-alongs or crowd members hand selected to join the band on percussions on ‘Hey Julie’. Its no doubt that the crowd (which skews to an older-ish crowd) is still yearning for their early music. Random people are heard to be yelling ‘Red Dragon Tattoo’, which sadly they did not play. But with their abundance of awesome songs, its hard to get everything you wanted played.

Of course, no Fountains of Wayne show would be complete without the hugely popular ‘Stacy’s Mom’ . Not appearing on the setlist, it showed up as an encore and had everyone dancing and singing along. And each time I hear ‘Radiation Vibe’ Im convinced it will never sound better. And last night might have been the coolest mix – as at the end they went into a Peter Frampton song, followed by Tears For Fears ‘Mad World’ and then one last 70s song. Of course the last song, was horribly botched with Adam forgetting the words and them kinda making them up. Regardless whatever they do, always seems to be fun and awesome. The medley was awesome especially as it segued back into ‘Radiation Vibe’. Few bands can pull it off, but when they do, it can work wonders.

Perhaps, following in the steps of Matthew Sweet, they will do a tour for Utopia Parkway. That would be quite awesome!

Supporting act: Nicole Atkins sounded as great as ever. She has amazing vocals and kept it simple with her and her friend Serena? who was accompanying her on bass. It was even just as nice when it was just Nicole and her acoustic guitar. I always forget how much I like her, shes chill and laid back and just goes with it. Ill make sure next time shes around, I check her out. Thankfully shes from around her, so that should not be a problem.

If youve yet to see FoW, you really should. It can make any day that much better. Besides, they might just have some of the coolest fans ever.

Setlist:
Little Red Light
Valley of Malls
Summer Place
Someone to Love
Barbara H
Richie and Ruben
A Road Song
Valley Winter Song
Fire in the Canyon
Hey Julie
A Dip in the Ocean
Denise
Mexican Wine
Radiation Vibe (medley: Peter Frampton ‘Do You Feel Like We Do’, Tears for Fears ‘Mad World’, Blue Oyster Cult ‘Burnin’ For You’ )

Encore:
Stacy’s Mom
I-95
Cemetery Guns
Joe Rey
Sink

(encore might be off)

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