Ramblings of a Redhead Music Snob

Life & Music in New York, My City

Posts Tagged ‘The Independent’

(No) Passion w/Car Seat Headrest

Posted by xneverwherex on January 23, 2016

Car Seat Headrest
Silver Shadows
Independent
January 20, 2016

Not unlike another Virginian (Jack Tatum of Wild Nothing), Will Toledo has a similar story. Both seemed to start recording their albums very lo-fi in their bedrooms and then managed to get signed by labels and record albums and go on tour. It’s almost too familiar. Both artists are clearly masters of what they do and have incredible music. Will, playing under the moniker Car Seat Headrest, has moved onto wetter pastures aka Seattle. And then he got signed by Matador Records. The even crazier part of this – he already had some 11 albums released. Pretty f’ing impressive!

Car Seat Headrest

Car Seat Headrest

On album, some of their songs are fuzzy anthem sing-alongs and they’re fun to listen to, but it was a wonder of what it would be like live. I already had listened to Car Seat Headrest’s Matador debut, Teens of Style, more than enough times. I had come across them while asking friends which bands I needed to check out from CMJ (think SXSW – smaller and in NYC). And then next thing I know, a co-worker is sending me all these links of the band and how much press they are getting. Seriously, the prestigious New Yorker had written about them. And that’s when you know you’re going places.

To say that I was beyond pleasantly surprised about their show would be an understatement. I didn’t even realize they had that much music to perform and it seemed like the entire audience know their entire catalog and had seem them play countless times. The band started the set with “The Ending of Dramamine” which had to be the coolest song they had. The solid drum beats in the background with the minimal sound of the throbbing bass and then the guitars come in oh so slowly. At first a note here and there its slow and drawn out. I was so reminded me of Explosions in the Sky at this moment. As the 13 minute song continues it picks up. The guitars come in full force getting louder and louder and more aggressive. It comes to a full swell before backing down and then picking up. It was just beautiful and one hell of a song opener. And then once it seems like the song is over, 5 or so minutes in, Will comes in with his lyrics. It’s strangely beautiful – his vocals just emote. You can nearly feel the pain of the lyrics as he sings.

My only wish was that it continued just like that, but the songs change up and they’re not all that heavy. But regardless, the show was awesome. From the crowd chanting out songs and the drummer joking that it’s a school night and we should all be home sleeping. The band clearly was quite comfortable with the crowd. Will almost seems embarrassed from the way the audience loved him and it was somewhat cute. There were moments that I felt like I was watching an early Pavement show. Some old-school songs that clearly felt like they were from the 90’s independent scene. Then there were songs like “Bodies” which has a more electronic fuzzy pop sound and got the crowd dancing and jumping.

Im definitely a fan of their songs being played with more guitars. But even their pop songs that were more well known were awesome live. Everyone singing along they also managed to capture the 60’s neo-psychedelia sound. Its hard to place the band on where they should be filed under and who would like them, but it seems that they cross genres and have a pretty cool fan-base. Im totally into seeing them again whenever they come around. Plus – Will is multi-talented and watching him on drums was pretty sweet.

Besides, any band that can end with a really impressive “Psycho Killer” cover from The Talking Heads already upped brownie points. In a weird way, at that moment it felt like we were watching a young David Byrne. Quirky and slightly weird, Will is just quite awesome.

Silver Shadows

Silver Shadows

Local SF/Oakland band Silver Shadows started the set. The almost all-girl band (minus the drummer – Chase – who apparently is a cool dude that somehow everyone seems to know) were a really great start. Sounding like some of the 60’s girl bands they didn’t totally have a wall-of-sound going, but should have. If the guitars were just a bit louder it would have been that much more awesome. A co-worker said they could be the next Dum Dum Girls or Best Coast and I was reminded of a less 80’s version of The Pains of Being Pure at Heart. Regardless, all great bands to be compared to. The vocals from each of the women was pretty sweet – as their high voices pierced through the air against swirling guitars, drum beats that almost get lost in the background but you can just feel it and keyboards. The guys in front next to me (possibly friends of the drummer for all I know) were really into it and dancing and singing along.

I’ve listened to the EP more times than I could have imagined already and it makes for really great listening. A bit shoegazey at times into crescendoing guitars and they have this really awesomely beautiful sound. I really need to see them again.

So far – a pretty good start to 2016 with Tool being the first show (no words can describe a Tool show but f’ing amazing balls-to-the-walls awesomeness).

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Buzz Band Catfish & The Bottlemen Conquer SF

Posted by xneverwherex on February 11, 2015

Catfish & The Bottlemen
Wild Party
The Independent
2/10/15

The much hyped Welsh band, including a test-tube baby born lead singer with the born to be rockstar name Van McCann, Catfish & The Bottlemen lived up to everything and more. Its hard to actually believe the hype as all too often there is such a big letdown. But in this case the 4-some came to San Francisco and were ready to play their hearts out.

Catfish & The Bottlemen

Catfish & The Bottlemen

The band opened with the very catchy “Rango” off their debut album The Balcony. Van wasted no time with amping up the audience. With a lot of kicks and jumps, he worked the stage taking all of their songs a level up. They were harder and heavier in concert, not sounding quite as poppy. And the heavier sound worked perfectly. The packed show (surprisingly not sold out) had everyone singing along like they had been fans of the bands for years. It was hard to believe that this was their first time in San Francisco.

The band then went into the even more catchy “Pacifier” with catchy guitar riffs and Van’s lovely vocals. It has a bit more of a pop sound and had the crowd dancing and rocking out. Van’s head was constantly bopping up and down, his floppy hair all over the place.

Van is very reminiscent of Luke Pritchard of The Kooks. The way he moves, the way he takes over the stage and his whole presence reminds me of the band. You can almost imagine them playing around the same times. The band exudes energy and its infectious and everyone around me was smiling and clearly into it.

There was also a lot of stage banter with him calling out to a Liverpool fan who ended up singing their football anthem. There were clearly a lot of ex-pats in the crowd last night. There was talk about pies and what makes a perfect one and what to put it one (I think Van was not talking about a pizza pie). And it went on. He was so peppy and so full of life.

The other guys of the band left for a couple songs (which I guess could be an encore of sorts) and Van played “Homesick” on his own – along with a crowd sing along. It then went into the acoustic version of “Hourglass” which is beautiful. A girl next to me freaked out about not being able to video the song which was somewhat amusing. The band emerged again for “Cocoon” and “Tyrants” and included the awesome moves of Van sliding up and down the mic stand, resting his head against it as well as sliding his guitar up and down nearly using it as a slide. He just exudes coolness.

This is the band to see – so if youre on the East Coast – find yourself a ticket pronto. Most shows are/will sell-out and you will have no regrets.

Wild Party

Wild Party

The openers Wild Party from San Antonio, Texas are also a band not to miss. The bands are pretty different sound-wise from the heavy guitar rock of Catfish to the lighter, pop sounds of Wild Party. But each of them have the energy. It will be no surprise to see Wild Party around a lot more often.

Lead singer, Lincoln Kreifels tried to get lots of dancing going on and was really engaging. It was clear the band was excited to be in town. They have the same catchiness of Rooney who sadly never became bigger. Power-pop guitars, dance-y songs and in no time you’ll be dancing along to songs like “Outright“. The bass lines of Ethan Kaufmann are beyond catchy esp on songs like “Connect the Dots“. He’s excellent and the band is great to watch. In their ever tight skinny jeans, the band seems almost too jaded and cool, but its clear they’re all just having a good time.

Their music just makes people happy. Everyone around me seemed so into it and just having a great time. I remember missing them at SXSW last year and thinking eventually Id see their name. And I was so glad that I finally caught them. Its one of those bands to just go out and see and you wont regret it.

The combo is one hell of a two-some. Its hard to get two incredible bands with different styles, yet it works just fine. They’re a perfect opener, getting the crowd ready to go and then leaving it all to Catfish & The Bottlemen to take it to the next level.

I expect to be seeing both bands around a lot more often.

Set List: (Catfish)
Rango
Pacifier
Sidewinder
Fallout
26
Business
Kathleen
Homesick
Hourglass
Cocoon
Tyrants

Set List: (Wild Party)
Nicely Done
Lo-Fi Children
New Light
Connect the Dots
Chasing Honey
When I Get Older
Life’s Too Short
Outright
Take My Advice

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Brooklyn Takes on SF

Posted by xneverwherex on September 7, 2014

Bear in Heaven
Young Magic
Miles Cooper Seaton
The Independent
September 3, 2014

Brooklyn came to San Francisco for a full night of music and it was pretty awesome. And I didnt even have to go to a large venue to see them all (compared to NYC). One of the major pluses. It was a very awesome, respectful crowd and not even sold out (which was a surprise, albeit a nice one). The band was in town touring for their 4th album, Time Is Over One Day Old.

Adam Wills - Bear in Heaven

Bear in Heaven – Adam Wills

While I hadnt spent much time listening to Bear in Heaven‘s new album, I had heard it a few times thanks to streaming on NPR. The new album is very accessible but still has their own distinct sound. Not as pop sounding as earlier albums, they still managed to have catchy tunes that will stick in your mind. A woman and I were saying at the show, ‘and their music is still so blissful.’ You can just disappear into their songs, with the constant beat from the drums and the droning spaced out guitars – you just dissolve into their music – the beat just takes you along and it doesnt feel like its always distinct songs – just a feeling of blissfulness. And it doesnt leave as they continue their set (which always seems way too short).

Bear in Heaven

Bear in Heaven

The band focused on their latest 2 albums which sound great live. The band started out with ‘Autumn’ and then went into ‘I Do You’ off their second album (and one of my favorite all-time albums – Beast Rest Fort Mouth). Its just hypnotic as the keyboards take you away, the band swathed in lights which sometimes turned into strobes giving them a far-away feel spaced-out feel of psychedelic grooviness. While the strobes are definitely not intense as they are in Brooklyn (they don’t take their lighting designer, Will Armstrong, along with them on tour) it works. And you still get the same feel.

Jon Philpot, lead singer, wasnt too talkative but was quite happy to be back in San Francisco. He was cool and obliged a fan who yelled out for ‘Lovesick Teenagers’. That was definitely one of the highlights for me and was so glad that they played it. ‘Sinful Nature’ sounded better than ever; Jon’s vocals sweeping into the air amidst the beat from the keyboard and bass.

If you haven’t seen the band in awhile, or perhaps never at all – I would highly recommend checking them out as theyre still playing a good mix of most their music.

Young Magic

Young Magic

Young Magic, a band I was familiar with mostly by name, was one of the openers and they proved to be a great match for Bear In Heaven. They were possibly even better than Bear in Heaven playing an experimental electro-trip hop set. Lead singer Melati Malay’s voice floated through the set with a sense of longing. Lots of influences could be heard with African beats standing out. The band, now hailing from Brooklyn, is from a mish-mash of places mostly of the South Pacific (Indonesia and Australia) and its noticeable in their music.

The music is just beautiful and like Bear in Heaven, will just sweep you away. The vocals of Isaac Emmanuel and Melati sound gorgeous when they sing together and it just blends seamlessly. Throw in some solid drum beats and you feel like youve escaped to another part of the world. Just drifting in and out it takes you elsewhere.

This might have been one of the best pairings Ive seen in a long time. They could have been extensions of each other musically and it was so worth it to show up early to see them.

Miles Cooper Seaton

Miles Cooper Seaton

I shouldn’t leave out fellow opener, singer-songwriter and founder/creator of Akron/Family, Miles Cooper Seaton. Just him, a guitar and laptop, and add some soaring vocals (damn could he hold his notes). He was also quite the storyteller too – talking about punk music, playing covers and his musical sensibilities. He was simply put – awesome! He was just so comfortable on the stage it would have been hard to know it was his first time really doing this on his own. His music ranged from more punk influenced songs to ambient songs. He was a great addition to the set and his music fit in just perfectly.

Bear in Heaven Set List:
Autumn
You Do You
Sinful Nature
Time Between
If I Were to Lie
Cool Light
Kiss Me Crazy
They Dream
Lovesick Teenagers
You Don’t Need the World
Dissolve the Walls

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Sharon Van Etten Sizzles & Shines (and is secretly a comedian)

Posted by xneverwherex on July 2, 2014

Sharon Van Etten
Jana Hunter (Lower Dens)
The Independent
June 30, 2014

Sharon Van Etten, the charming singer/songwriter from Brooklyn, was all smiles and looking incredible. Clad in a form fitting black dress with gold up the middle and very high heels, she was looking smashing! Better than looking good, she was all charm with a witty/dry sense of humour and seems to laugh at her own jokes and is very light-hearted. Its not exactly what one expects after listening to her songs. She doesn’t seem to take herself too seriously and knows how to let loose. As mentioned, she is charming and delightful.

Sharon Van Etten

Sharon Van Etten

SVE played to a packed house Monday night. Both of her shows sold out in San Francisco. She could easily be playing much larger venues, but its clear that shes comfortable and loves the intimacy. From the sounds of it, her show on Sunday night was nothing short of spectacular so it was hard to know what the show would be like. And this show was beyond incredible.

The majority of songs were off the new album Are We There. While her music is still powerful and haunting, she’s moved beyond heartbreak. Its clear that this is the grown-up version of herself, moving on with life. Her new album still has an angst to it, and its easy to get caught up in it and just feel it all. Its like everything she’s ever felt goes into her songs and it exudes from her as she plays.

She played ‘Leonard‘ dedicating it to the ex who probably knew it was written for him. As she said, his real name is ‘Bleonard’. It was like an inside joke that we were all part of, no matter how stupid it sounded. It was a funny joke and even better to see that she can now joke about this toxic relationship.

She talked lots about her merch, oh yeah she does have kleenex with her face on it so you know, you can blow your nose into. (no im not making this up!). And umbrellas for the rainy days we don’t seem to have (clearly an ongoing joke, with someone and her yelling ‘too soon’). She’s even thought of adding a new part to her show ‘current events with Sharon Van Etten’. Hah! Seriously, she could be on a talk show at the rate shes going. She talked to a huge fan in the front asking what current events she missed. Naturally, the story brought up was the student stuck in the vagina in Germany (because these things always occur). Ive got to hand it to her, without missing a beat she said ‘and the next song is “Break Me“‘, giggling as she starts playing the droning, lo-fi song. Its gorgeous like everything she plays.

SVE seems to know how to push people and understands concert crowds all too well. While there was lots of banter back and forth between the crowd and her, there were the inevitable naysayers who were getting upset and wanted her to just play. She joked about blogs and what kinds of nasty things would be written about the show and people would complain about her lack of playing and even more importantly there’s always the people who complain that enough old songs weren’t played. Its the nature of being in a band, and you never can win them all. But I actually think she should have garnered even more fans. And for those not paying attention, she played more songs last night than she did at her prior shows.

She quickly introduced the band as others yelled out for that in the mix of the banter. Her band is just awesome and it appears most of them aren’t going elsewhere. Heather Woods Broderick (Efterklang), is a great addition and matches Sharon Van Etten’s raw, haunting vocals. On the crowd-pleasing hit ‘Serpents‘, the women go back and forth almost as in a duel with each out performing each other with the vocals. Its strong, powerful and is beyond emotional. It packed a punch and made the already powerful song sound even better. Doug Keith, on guitar and vocals, was nicknamed ‘Pretty Boy’, by a fan who wanted to know which effects he was using on the guitar. Turns out it was the ebow, which he was nice enough to even spell.

She ended the set asking for some weed and promising a setlist in return. As she played the last song of the night, “Everytime the Sun Comes Up“, complete with laughter and giggles, some guys in front of her were nice enough to blow smoke up at her. It was the only song she had written totally stoned. After the show they gave her a joint and she kept to her word and gave out a setlist.

All in all, SVE sounded amazing and full but still has a haunting ache to her voice. Her fans relate as we all have stories, but she’s managed to articulate it so well with not just her lyrics, but with the music itself. This album is a nice departure from the last. Instead of all the amazing guest collaborators (The Dessners, Wye Oak, etc), this is more herself and perhaps it shows.

Jana Hunter

Jana Hunter

Jana Hunter, lead singer of Baltimore’s Lower Dens, opened the set. Armed simply with just a guitar and a laptop, she sat down in a chair and played a lovely short set. It felt so intimate as if we were watching someone in her recording studio preparing her new album. The material is dark and ethereal and comes across as oh so moody. Simply put, its gorgeous and just takes you away.

It was great to hear her have some fun with Hall & Oates’ ‘Maneater‘; ’twas an amazing cover. And her voice had the perfect amount of rasp, which probably meant she did smoke the perfect amount of cigarettes.

SVE Set List:
Afraid of Nothing
Taking Chances
Tarifa
Save Yourself
Nothing Will Change
Break Me
Don’t Do It
I Love You But Im Lost
Leonard
You Know ME Well
Serpents
Your Love is Killing Me

I Know (SVE solo)
All I Can
Everytime The Sun Comes Up

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20 Years Later and The Dandys (Still) Rule OK

Posted by xneverwherex on April 26, 2014

The Dandy Warhols
The Warlocks
The Independent
April 23, 2014

Its hard to believe that the Dandy Warhols have now been together for 20 years. The band was in town on Wed night to kick off their new tour celebrating 20 years. The Independent (which was of course a sold-out show – apparently selling out in some 5 mins according to Courtney), was a perfect place for the band. Still quite small, it seemed that most of their older fans were in the crowd. A few of the people had remembered seeing the band at house parties around the Mission.

The band, mainly CTT, reminisced about the long ago time in which they were playing shows to a few of their friends. Since then, they’ve opened for some amazing bands/artists (hello Bowie!, The Charlatans, and countless others) and have played some really awesome shows (3hr shows, 13 Tales album, etc). It was pretty great to see all of them feeling so at home and so comfortable. As Zia mentioned, she was just so comfortable that they would do whatever they wanted for us, including one of the Warlocks playing tambourine on ‘Bohemian Like You’ (if I recall correctly).

The Dandy Warhols

The Dandy Warhols

The band really went old school for the show and played a ton of early material (so happy to hear TV Theme Song after what seemed like years) and also CCR, White Gold and so many others. And they even went more old school to play a cover from Eddy Grant (whereby CTT talked about the Clash and Desmond Dekker! and then even went farther back to discuss his band The Equals). It was one of those kinds of nights, where you wished it never ended.

And what can I say about their fanbase. Some of the best fans Ive ever seen and met. As always, met some very awesome people in the crowd. People were very into sharing all their smokes and it was just a very great environment. Even for new fans, the older ones are always very cool and never ‘too cool for school’.

An awesome show indeed — and the best part The Warlocks opened the show.

The Warlocks

The Warlocks

The Warlocks, from LA, started the night out in fine fashion. With some slow droning guitar rock, that changed into more shoe-gazey and even had some pop bits. Guitarist Earl, who was in front of me, is one hell of a musician. He is *incredible* on the guitars and you get mesmerized just watching him. The band is really incredible and plays a really tight set. Its the type of band that just takes you on a trip for an hour as you really feel the music and it just takes a hold of you.

One of the best openers I had seen in a very long time. The only thing Im most sad about is the fact that I did not have plans to attend Austin Psych Fest which has the most amazing lineup ever.

Pseudo-set List (I know this isnt correct order and songs are missing)
Be-In
Shaking
Used To Be Friends
TV Theme Song
Ride
Last High
Now Ya
Sad Vacation
theyre gone
Gotta get over
holding me up
come back
girls
ccr
horse pills
bohemian like you
dreamt
godless
get off
white gold
pete/boys better

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Jesus for the Jugular – The Veils

Posted by xneverwherex on May 2, 2013

The Veils
The Sporting Life
Independent
April 24, 2013

The Veils always put on a great show. I had seen them in NYC a few times and they never disappoint. So, of course I was excited to see how it would be on the other coast. I spoke with their merch girl (from New Zealand, naturally) who I had actually met before. We talked about prior shows, their love of Prince (who was also playing that night) and how another friend of mine from New Zealand had to see them in NYC.

It was starting out a great night. I was surprised to see that when the opener came on – The Sporting Life – there was only me and one other girl in the area standing and giving support. While I know people were not there for them, it never ceases to amaze me how people act oblivious and not at all interested. At least by the time the Veils showed up on stage, the crowd had come forward a bit and the venue filled up.

The band, originally hailing from New Zealand and now based out of the UK, seems to be ever changing in their line up. Last time they had a wonderful female drummer from Germany (if I recall correctly) and now they have added a brass section (Americans), and a new drummer (possibly from Germany, maybe from the UK?) and a few other guys to round out their sound (also from European countries). This addition is great and the brass really adds to their songs.

Finn Andrews, lead singer, has such an impressive voice. You can feel the raw emotion as he sings and his face is entirely expressive – the look of a tortured soul/artist. Everything is shown on his face and its hauntingly beautiful. This is just one of the many thigns I like about him/the band. He didn’t have much to say, but a few thanks for the liking of his hat and he seemed cheery enough to be in SF. Sophia, bassist, always comes across as shy and more often than not, plays with her back to the audience. When a woman commented on her awesome boots, she got super excited and more talkative. As always, she sounded awesome on bass.

The band played quite a bit of new songs off their album ‘Time Stays We Go’. After hearing it online a bit, I was impressed with the songs live. They sounded amazing. It was great to hear ‘Calliope’ which always sounds amazing. And their final song of the night ‘Jesus For the Jugular’ sounded as great as ever. It was gut wrenching with one hell of a guitar solo that probably normally ends with a guitar on the ground (at least in the past it has). It was so intense and it was one hell of a way to end the show. It left you wanting more but completely happy with what you got.

If you havent yet seen them (theyre headed to NYC any day now), you really should. The band never disappoints and with this new album sounding incredible and with rave reviews, this might just push them over the edge into major star quality. Not that Finn doesnt already have that quality!

Oh and as far as the merch – Finn designed the shirts. So its worth it to get one (or two).

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