2015: A Year in Pictures

Hello, darlings. I hope you are having excellent holidays, or at least excellent days.

Normally this feature is just a year’s worth of shows – or a year and a bit – but I’m doing something a little different this time around. 2015 has been amazing, at times, and brutal, at others, and as I uploaded my images, it occurred to me that some of the silences had as much of an impact as the instances of joyful noise.

So, here it is: a year of pictures of rockstars, and some other things, too.

Book of Love, Terminal 5, New York, NY, Dec. 31, 2014

Andy Bell, Erasure, Terminal 5, New York, NY, Dec. 31, 2014

Kennedy (tuxedo) and Nikita (fluffball), dozing, New York, NY, Jan. 17, 2015

Nikita, 2001-Feb. 16, 2015

Kennedy, Feb. 28, 2015

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Postcards from the Pit: Panic! at the Disco / The Colourist / X Ambassadors, Roseland, 2/4/2014

It’s a rare thing, getting to watch a band grow up.

My first (indoors) Panic! at the Disco show was at Roseland Ballroom in May 2008. I say indoors because my actual first Panic! at the Disco show was at Bamboozle a few days earlier, and when I saw them I couldn’t really see them, because I had just broken my glasses in the Bouncing Souls pit. I could hear them just fine, though, and against all odds – they were in their hippie phase, wore lots of beige and had four tattoos between them – I loved them.

But at Roseland I could see them, and they looked like sweet-faced deer in the headlights. Their stage presence was probably best described as “charmingly awkward.” But the songs still made me happy. And so, for good or for ill, I was in for the long haul.

This past Tuesday night – six years, two records/style-shifts, and three line-up changes later – they were at Roseland again, one last time before the places closes down in the spring.

The openers this time around were X Ambassadors and The Colourist.

X Ambassadors had a dark dreamy-draggy-occasional-burst-of-thundering-drums vibe going, which … Continue reading

Wax Fang, The Astronaut

Wax Fang - The Astronaut Cover

The Astronaut, by Wax Fang, is everything you would want from a space opera: lush, sweeping, majestic, a little bit mysterious, and, since it’s about a lone space traveler who gets separated from his vessel, sucked into a black hole, and made into an interstellar god, a little bit tragic, too.

After I had listened to it a couple of times, I had some questions for the band:

Why a space opera?

We wanted to do something big and bold, something experimental and transcendental that was in accord with our tastes in art and music. A metaphysical musical adventure set in the deep reaches of outer space just seemed like a perfect fit for us.

At first I thought the three singles [The Blonde Leading the Blonde, Hearts Are Made For Beating, King of The Kingdom of Man] were independent of the space opera, but after repeated listenings to both works, the singles now sound, to me, like they should be part … Continue reading

Two Songs From: Passenger Peru

Passenger Peru (formerly Pet Ghost Project) is: Justin Stivers (vocals, guitar, bass, synth, drums, drum machines) and Justin Gonzales (vocals, guitar, synth, piano, samples) and their latest self-titled release, due out next week, was recorded in Brooklyn and Alaska.

According to their bandcamp their genre is neo-psychedelia mixed with garage rock and noise pop, which I’d say is about right. There’s certain amount of dreamy noodling but it’s dreamy noodling with weight and discernible structure.

Here are two songs from the record:

Heavy Drugs: Because you can only escape for just so long; sooner or later reality will force itself to your attention. Here is a song you can listen to in the last few golden moments before the hammer comes down.
Passenger Peru- Passenger Peru by Fleeting Youth Records

Dirt Nap: It is what it says on the tin – a meditation on death – but an oddly soothing one.
Passenger Peru- Passenger Peru by Fleeting Youth Records

Passenger Peru is available on tape and digitally; the digital version comes with two additional songs, including cover of My Bloody Valentine’s Don’t Ask Why as well as four (!) free Pet … Continue reading

Video: Empires, How Good Does It Feel

Empires, scrappy little band of my heart (Chicago division), is getting ready to release a new record, to be called Orphan.

As a preview, they’ve put out the video below, for How Good Does It Feel. The edges are a little less jagged than they usually are, but the propulsive energy is still there and Sean van Vleet’s voice is still the perfect seductive blend of silk and whiskey.
Empires – How Good Does it Feel Live From the BasementEmpires - How Good Does it Feel Live From the Basement
Watch this video on YouTube

In other Empires news, they will be headed out on tour of the Midwest starting in February:
For further updates: see their Facebook and/or Twitter pages!

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The Paraffins, Subhuman

The Paraffins are from Glasgow and Subhuman is their second record.

It’s also a dramatic change of pace from their previous work. Created during and partially inspired by a long Ayrshire winter, Subhuman is dense, gloomy, and maybe a little bit claustrophobic. Like being snowed in, in an old house that creaks at random times and maybe has a ghost or two rattling crankily in the attic.

Hippopotamized is not the first song on the record, but it is the first one I listened to. Continuing the house metaphor: this would be playing when the door to the front parlor banged open of its own accord and you got a good look at some of the things on the walls.
Subhuman by The Paraffins
Deep Space: for when you have put the kettle on and settled down to read the old journals you found in one of the bedrooms, while the wind whips the snow around outside.
Subhuman by The Paraffins

Intrigued? You can listen to the rest of it at their bandcamp page.

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Housekeeping: A Note on the Change in Administration

Good morning darlings. This is Jennifer, just here to first say thank you for all of your kind words yesterday, as the NTSIB community bid a sad and fond farewell to April, our founder and fearless leader, and secondly to confirm that while April is retiring from music blogging, I am not.

There may be some hiccups in the next couple of days and weeks while I get things re-organized, but NTSIB remains open and afloat!

I look forward to having many new musical adventures, and I hope you will continue to join me.

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Postcards from the Pit: Andrew WK / Team Spirit, Irving Plaza, 12/31/13

My first post of the new year goes to my last concert of the old year and/or first concert of the new year: Andrew WK and Team Spirit at Irving Plaza.

The night began with punk rock heavy metal karaoke – live band, audience participation – which was more sublime than ridiculous, due mostly to the assembled crowd, which included multiple generations of headbangers, punks, and miscellaneous People In Black as well as others who had come down to capital-P Party with Andrew WK.

I was there because, frankly, 2013 was kind of shit, and Andrew WK – in many ways heavy metal’s holy fool – is about fun in an uncomplicated way that I find very attractive. And that was how I wanted to start 2014, with uncomplicated fun.

But back to karaoke. There were a lot of beautiful moments: the dude in the Lil Bub hoodie who led us in a sober, stirring rendition of War Pigs; the girl who grabbed Oh Bondage Up Yours! by the throat and made it her own; the girl and the guy who led a gleeful sing-along of Fight For Your Right to Party; the last dude, who slammed through Communication … Continue reading

2013: A Year in Pictures

A full year of rock ‘n’ roll pictures, January to December, New York to Boston to Philadelphia to Brooklyn. They might not be the best pictures ever, but they are mine.

Magic Trick, Webster Hall, New York, NY, January 14, 2013

Father John Misty, Webster Hall, New York, NY, January 14, 2013

Wildstreet, Best Buy Theater, New York, NY, January 24, 2013

William Control, Best Buy Theater, New York, NY, January 24, 2013

Andy Biersack, Black Veil Brides, Best Buy Theater, New York, NY, January 24, 2013

Andy Biersack, Black Veil Brides, Best Buy Theater, New York, NY, January 24, 2013

Ashley Purdy, Black Veil Brides, Best Buy Theater, New York, NY, January 24, 2013

Jake Pitts and Jinxx, Black Veil Brides, Best Buy Theater, New York, NY, January 24, 2013

Jinxx, Black Veil Brides, Best Buy Theater, New York, NY, January 24, 2013

Pete Wentz book signing, New York, NY, February 21, … Continue reading