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New York

Slow Hollows, Crosslegged and Stevie Wolf bring soulful, rich sounds to Brooklyn’s Baby’s All Right

Drained after a long week, I sat on the bus thinking about the next four hours and what was to come. The facts: Slow Hollows was playing at Baby’s All Right in Brooklyn, NY. Doors, 8 pm. On the bus, the silence was peaceful yet deafening. Just me, a woman in her mid-thirties or early forties, and the bus driver. 7 pm on a Friday night. En route, a wave of nerves hit me. I had not been to a show in over two months. The silence persisted and continued to linger up until I arrived at the venue. I was home. Continue Reading

At Madison Square Garden, Childish Gambino’s “last tour” felt more like a new beginning

We talk about Donald Glover as an actor, a comedian, a director and a rapper, but I’d argue there’s more than that. Continue Reading

Dodie and Tessa Violet perform quirky, bright sets to a packed house at Brooklyn Steel

Saturday night almost 2,000 fans of Dodie and Tessa Violet lined up outside of Brooklyn Steel in anticipation the sold out show. This was the second stop of the 14 date North American tour. Before the show started, I found myself amazed at the amount of dresses and faces covered in glitter and silver star stickers. Continue Reading

The National’s epic 2-day Forest Hills fest with Jason Isbell, Cat Power, Future Islands and more is quickly approaching

In April, The National announced they’d be returning to Queens this summer to play two shows at Forest Hills Stadium. In a statement, guitarist Aaron Dressner said their Forest Hills show in 2017 was “one of our favorite shows in the history of the band,” and this year’s run is set to be bigger and better, with a stacked lineup both nights.

With doors set to open at 2:00 pm both days, the shows are meant to be more of a festival than a concert, with a lineup including Jason Isbell And The 400 Unit, Future Islands, Cat Power, Cigarettes After Sex, Phoebe Bridgers, U.S. Girls, Bully, and Adia Victoria. The National has also partnered with PLUS1 to donate one dollar of every ticket sold to the Brownsville Community Culinary Center.

The National’s shows are epic and emotional. Matt Berninger, typically with wine in hand, holds nothing back as he belts out his emotional lyrics. Typically, he ventures into the crowd for a song or two also. The band is also known to bring guests on-stage for songs (they played “I Need My Girl” with Maggie Rogers when we saw them last at Boston Calling for example) and with a curated lineup of friends and bands they like, expected lots of collaborative singalongs.

There’s no word yet on the sets the band will play both nights and what else is planned for the exciting weekend. They’ve been playing lots of music from Boxer recently to celebrate the ten year anniversary (notably in Brussels to record a live version of the record in April) so expect some songs from that, plus newer music as well.

Tickets and more information about the two-day There’s No Leaving New York festival can be found at www.americanmary.com.

Get to know Hatchie, the dreamy Australian singer and bassist who will be at OctFest, Warsaw and Baby’s All Right this month

.Brisbane’s Hatchie (a.k.a. Harriette Pilbeam) will be an artist to watch at South By Southwest next March, and she’ll probably make appearances on the lineups of Lollapalooza, Coachella and a few other big festivals next summer. For now, you can catch her this month in New York at OctFest, Warsaw (where she’ll open for Alvvays & Snail Mail) and a headlining show at Baby’s All Right.

Promoted heavily by Pitchfork, who called “Sleep” one of their Best New Tracks and featured her as a Rising artist, Hatchie has also caught the ears of NPR, The Fader and Paste. Noisey says she’s “somewhere between Cocteau Twins and Sky Ferreira is Hatchie,” but there’s also something groovy and poppier about songs like the swooping “Bad Guy” that lean more towards acts we love like MUNA or Maggie Rogers. Lyrically and vocally, she has a lot in common with Katie Gavin of MUNA.

Hatchie recently released the debut EP, Sugar & Spice, which is full of honest love songs that cross between chill and dreamy and melodic and full of riffs. Hatchie clearly has a knack for production and her songs have catchy hooks, ready for radio or ready to be the soundtrack to a cool summer evening outside.

Tour dates are below (a lot of the shows are already sold out) and you can hear more of Hatchie’s music at hatchie.net.

Pitchfork and October come together for OctFest on Governors Island in September (with Vince Staples, The Flaming Lips and more)

The second annual OctFest is quickly approaching, curated by Pitchfork and October, a leading beer culture website. Like last year, the music lineup is eclectic, with Vince Staples headlining Saturday (with Jeff Tweedy, Saba and Vagabon also on the bill) and The Flaming Lips closing out Sunday (after Girlpool, Hop Along, Yo La Tengo and more). Tickets to the event on Governors Island in New York City also beer samples from the likes of Austin Eastciders, Bronx Brewery, LIC Beer Project, Ommegang Brewery and more.

Governors Island has seen a mix of two-day music festivals over the past few years, but OctFest stands out because of the minds behind it and the mix of top notch music and beer. The artists a big for such an intimate venue and the curated food program and 90+ breweries from more than 15 countries around the world are certainly not an after thought. Prices are slightly expensive, at $75 for a single day and $140 for a weekend pass (which includes 15 beer samples per day), but the festival is currently offering a 30% discount on all tickets using code P4K30 until September 7.

The Flaming Lips in New Orleans (Photo by Brian Benton)

We didn’t attend OctFest 2017, which took place for one-day instead of two and was at the less-than-ideal Brooklyn Hangar in Sunset Park, which is hard to get to and can get uncomfortably hot and crowded. Guided by Voices, Kilo Kish, Okkervil River led the music lineup last year, and bringing in bigger, more diverse names was clearly a focus for 2018. We especially love Sunday’s bill, which feels like a miniature version of Chicago’s Pitchfork Festival. Julie Byrne and Shopping will shred early in the day, and then things will get groovy and trippy as Nile Rogers & Chic, Yo La Tengo and The Flaming Lips close things out.

Both days have two-stages set up, which hopefully will mean less downtime between acts. At other festivals we’ve been to on Governors Island, the single stage on a fairly small festival ground have meant 30-minute set changes with few options of things to do. OctFest is smart to alternate sets between two stages.

OctFest tickets are on sale now at OctFest.co.

Interview: Sloppy Jane talk recording in caves, PF Chang’s, and how to organize a tour with 11 members

Sloppy Jane are somewhat of an enigma in New York, playing shows at most of the Brooklyn’s venues with a variety of instruments and an ever-changing lineup. Somehow, things always come together, perhaps thanks to vocalist Haley Dahl, who coordinated an eleven-person interview following the band’s recent show at Rough Trade opening for Cherry Glazerr. She has a flip phone, and gathered her merry band of Brooklynites via a group message.

Seeing Sloppy Jane live is sort of like seeing experimental theatre. Haley certainly leads the group, and she’s been the focal point of most of the band’s press due to her atypical fully nude performances and artificial blue “vomit.” This show built on the band’s shows I had previously seen, with a new song about shampoo as well as a new bit where Haley conducted her on-stage symphony. The 45-minute long performance largely felt like a more thought out production of what I’d seen before, featuring songs from their album Willow, released in March.

Still, talking with Sloppy Jane on Friday night felt like joining a group of friends. The heirarchy only existed becuase Haley was where my mic happened to be pointed. After the whole group was gathered, we talked about touring with a dozen people, former Sloppy Jane member Phoebe Bridgers and recording in caves.

You’re about to head out on tour. How do you organize a tour with 11 people and a bunch of instruments? How does it come together?
Haley Dahl: I’ll say that it’s pretty much the same honestly as with a smaller band. Everybody in the band is pretty game which is cool. But I mean it’s a nightmare logistically [Laughs].

How many vans are there?
Haley: We have one van.

That you all fit in?
Lily (violin): We have a clown van 1:00
Haley: Yes, it’s a clown car. It’s I really want to get a school bus.

Do you have a tour manager?
Haley: No.

And you don’t have a publicist either.
Haley: [Laughs] No, we don’t. I get a lot of emails.

Do you like doing that side of things?
Haley: No. [Laughs] But it’s one of the things where even if I delegated that, I would still have to answer those questions about scheduling and doing press. But I mean I would rather have somebody else do it. Is there anybody out there? Hello? It’s me Haley and I’m wondering if there is anyone else out there who wants to answer my emails.  

Would you describe your role as a band leader, a mother-figure…
Haley: Father! The mayor of drink tickets, I guess. But a father figure absolutely.

Before the show you lead the band in a sing-a-long?
Haley: We do vocal warm-ups.

Yeah, we could hear it coming from backstage.
Haley: You could? [Laughs]. We always do it for a couple reasons. Mostly to warm up, but then also it’s just helpful to have everybody do something together right before going on stage. It’s a really large group sometimes. Some people have been there since like 4 p.m. at soundcheck and like some people came in at like 7:00 right before the show. It’s good I think to kind of all come together and do something like that real quick.

Do all of you live in Brooklyn?
Haley: Yes.

Do all of you live together?
Haley: No. [Laughs].

But at one point didn’t you live in a big house in New Jersey?
Haley: [Laughs]. Underneath PF Chang’s. In New Jersey. No, I need to clear this up right now. To be honest, I made a joke once, but then it turned into a lie. You know it was a joke, but then people thought it was true and therefore it became a lie. But I never lived underneath a PF Chang’s in New Jersey. What happened was I lived in a house venue in Bushwick, and I wrote that in a interview answer but it sounded stupid so I changed the words to something that I thought sounded more funny. House venue in Bushwick became PF Chang’s basement in New Jersey. It’s followed me, and I feel bad. I’ve been meaning to clear it up.

So, this is my third time seeing you and I feel like in the past year the show has become more scripted. Not necessarily in a corny way but it almost feels more like a play. Do you think that’s true and how do you go about adding new things into what’s already an full-length show?
Haley: I mean it sort of is in a corny way. But I think that I’d really like to keep it the same, but develop it so that the music there is very high quality. Like it’s important to people to be putting out a lot of content and be seen as prolific, and have a lot of different content and a different show every day but I would like to just take this and make one perfect thing. Ultimately, I think it will become sort of like a symphony-format show. Right now there’s only one record but there’s two other ones that are being planned.

You’re making the next records now?
Haley: Yeah, we’ve been going to caves.
Jack: The next record we’re recording all in caves.
Haley: Me and Jack just spent a week in Kentucky. We were dragging pianos into caves. And then me and our friend Mika were in Virginia for a week in caves.

I also want to clear up two more thigns. I don’t want this interview to be about Phoebe Bridgers but she was in Sloppy Jane at one point.
Haley: [Laughs] Yeah, she played bass.

Okay and the second thing, a few articles say Sloppy Jane is singular, like Haley is Sloppy Jane.
Yeah, some people think that it’s my name, but it’s not.

But you also have said that Willow is a character that you play? Or is that something that’s kind of up in the air.
Haley: That’s confusing to explain and I don’t want to explain.

Last question. What’s your favorite book by Roald Dahl?
Haley: My favorite book by Roald Dahl? Probably Big Friendly Giant, or Matilda. 

Sloppy Jane is:
Jack, guitar, loves lavender
Lily, piano and flute
Lily (or Violily), violin
Tamar, vocals and “guitar for 30 seconds”
Noor, backup vocals, likes milk
Bailey, vocals, trumpet, and percussion, allergic to milk
Katie, bass, is excited to learn how to tap dance
Al, drums and vocals, wants to learn how to cartwheel
Lucas, cello
Kate, vocals
Haley, mayor of drink tickets
More at sloppyjanemusic.bandcamp.com.

The Sheepdogs showcase classic 70’s rock’n’roll at their New York City show at Le Poisson Rouge

Tossing out some serious 70s vibes with their embroidered jumpers, brown suits, dungarees, and thick mustaches, Canadian rock ‘n’ roll band, The Sheepdogs tackled Le Poisson Rouge, last Friday night. Continue Reading

Slayer, Lamb of God and Anthrax lead a heavy lineup of metal at the Mohegan Sun Arena in Connecticut

Testament, Behemoth, Anthrax, Lamb of God, and F*ckin’ Slayer. I can’t believe a line up this insane is even legal. In my constant running from photo pit to my nosebleed seats, I was dodging puddles of blood on the floor and the halls of Mohegan Sun’s arena were echoing with metal heads chanting and hollering for their favorite band, SLAYERRR! Continue Reading

Houndmouth tease new music and show off synth-heavy single “This Party” at New York’s Bowery Ballroom

Without a new album to promote (their most recent, Little Neon Limelight, was released on March 17, 2015), Houndmouth had Thursday night at Bowery Ballroom just to do what they do best; harmonize, lead singalongs and endear the sold-out crowd. Continue Reading

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