Having grown up in Israel, then moving to France and the Netherlands before coming to habit NY, there's something to Keren Ann's music that sounds foreign and familiar at once. Her coffeehouse storyteller themes are universal enough to be heard in a variety of settings (you've probably heard her before in any number of HBO shows), but intimate enough to allow you to relate to what she's singing about on your own terms.
Not only has she lived in some of the coolest places on earth (Paris, Amsterdam, Nolita, NY...), she's also resided in a huge array of musical locations as well. From the all French singing of her first two records, to Biographie De Luka Philipsen's trip-hop, Keren Ann has a rare ability to make very diverse styles orbit around her gentle energy without ever sounding like a tourist.
Always a great storyteller, Keren Ann becomes the muse for otherwise anonymous figures on her 6th solo album 101 (out Feb 28 on Blue Note Records), unexpectedly recalling early Goldfrapp and even Blonde Redhead in the record's first single, "My Name Is Trouble" (see video). These are areas I haven't heard her step into before, and she handles it as if she's been working with dance patterns her whole career.
She won't be in our area until the summer (The Bell House June 7), so you should have plenty of time to catch up on your French by then. Au revoir! - Mike Levine
On Saturday, February 26, 11 p.m., Danny Ross and his nine-piece band and horn section will headline Mercury Lounge for a live album recording to be released this summer. Audience members will be asked to shoot footage on their phones and flipcams for the official music video. Featuring new songs, all the hits and grown men in panda costumes. Nancy Chow asked Danny a few questions, read the interview here.
Computer Magic is one of those glorious bands that choose a title that sounds exactly like the music they put out. Walking the line between Emily Haines and Alexis Krauss, Danz, the brains behind Computer Magic, utilizes her baby girl voice and some 80's inspired synths for a lovely dose of dreampop. When playing live she has the help of James Morley on guitar, Justin Coles on bass and Chris Egan on the drums, but on her EPs (which can be downloaded for free) she flies solo. Her latest, Spectronic, is a six-track space love affair, lo-fi in the right ways but still clean cut. Sometimes it sounds like she laid down a track with her Gameboy, but in a nice "the 1980's future" kind of way. You know, digital watches and the beginnings of dial-up modems and all that. But she utilizes this seemingly dated approach in a pleasant, modern enough, and ultimately satisfying way. Computer Magic has 2 show scheduled in the next week: they'll play the new W'burg venue The Gutter on 02.26 and Mercury on 03.03 - allison levin
Celebrating the release of their 4th studio album, Brooklyn’s own Asobi Seksu played to a packed house at The Mercury Lounge on February 17. The bodies pressed in tightly, hoping to experience singer Yuki Chikudate and guitarist James Hanna up close and personal. They were not disappointed as the band (filled out by impressively tom-tom fueled drummer Larry Gorman and taller-than-the-average bassist Billy Pavone) played an hour long set mixing brand new material, with classics from the older repertoire.
The set was, as expected, weighted more towards the new material off of “Fluorescence.” “Leave the Drummer Out There,” “My Baby,” “Trails” and “Pink Light” are all stand-out tracks from this latest release. However, the songs their fans have come to know and love (present company included) were delighted to brilliant renditions of classics like "In The Sky" from 2009’s "Hush" and “Thursday” from 2006’s “Citrus.” On these high-point sonic moments, guitarist James Hanna bathed the room with bursts of rapid fire strumming that encompassed and enveloped the audience. As for Yuki - Brooklyn’s answer to Liz Frazer - she is the ethereal angel we all have come to know and love. My only small gripe was that the lighting could have been better. Surprising since the Merc is usually known for better than average lights. Only when the strobes kicked in (and it was magical when they did) could you really see properly (if the near psychedelic experience of strobe sensation could ever be termed as “proper”). Asobi Seksu continue their tour across the US and Canada through February and March, with a significant stop at SXSW. - Dave Cromwell
Guys and girls who like chicks who play in indie bands (i.e. 100% of our readership) might be interested in heading out to Cake Shop on Saturday to check out this bill composed almost entirely by female musicians.
4th: The Roulettes (top picture)
Saucy ladies play indie rock with punk attitude
3rd: Care Bears on Fire (bottom picture)
Teen pop-punk doesn't get better than this -
2nd: Nan and the One Night Stands
Nan is the "mother" of Olive Juice Music and drummersinger in Lo-Fi heroes Schwervon!
1st: The Fancy
All female orchestral pop treat ruined by the only guy in the bill (just kidding, we are just envious actually).
Tyonday Braxton departure didn't slow down NYC electronica masters Battles, who just announced the follow up to their best selling debut full length Mirror, out in 2007. Check out an old Deli interview with the band from 2010, before they blew up, here.
Constructing their large palette from found objects, Headless Horseman conveys a childlike sense of musical discovery in their songs, where the listener feels as surprised at the messy but endearing results as the band does. Making generous use of kitchen utensils and collage sound editing techniques, Headless Horseman has managed to make a fully realized musical environment sound like an intimate experience. The band is ending a February residency at Pianos on 02.25 and opening for Marnie Stern on March 4th at Santos Party House. - Read Himanshu Suri interview with the band here.
Luluc's Zoë Randell and Steve Hassett came to NYC via Melbourne, Australia, and have been winning over audiences through constant performances, mostly in the Lower East Side. The band has an austere and genuine character, which is a rarity in the NYC music scene. Randell sings a beautiful alto and plays a parlor guitar from the 1890s, while Steve plays a nylon string from the ‘50s. The band is very much focused on the craft of songwriting, putting meticulous detail into the studio sound. Since the album's release, the duo has begun to taste commercial success, touring with Fleet Foxes, Jose Gonzalez and Lucinda Williams. - Read Alex Borsody interview with the band here.
Quiet Lights have been gathering quite a lot of attention lately in the blogosphere with their ethereal and sometime dissonant dream pop. The Brooklyn band just release a this new video of the song Break Trouble Wait. The band will also play Rock Shop on march 1st.
Railbird isn't afraid of void nor silence. Split between the isolated wilderness of upstate NY (where they converged in March of 2009 in a friend's A-frame cabin surrounded by snow) and the crowded lonesomeness of NYC, this band produces sparse music that speaks to the heart - and can be comforting to both the lonely and the stressed out. Sarah Pedinotti's theatrical vocals tell stories about everyday life, while her backing band creates a beautifully balanced soundtrack that doesn't shy away from being occasionally playful. We are impressed with these guys, we recommend you check them out at their CD release party at Rockwood Music Hall on 02.24.