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

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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 I rather liked. … Continue reading

Wax Fang, The Astronaut

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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 of the space opera. Were they conceived separately, or in conjunction with the opera? Why were they released separately? The singles were all written long before the idea of the Astronaut came to be and, as such, have … Continue reading

Two Songs From: Passenger Peru

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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 Ghost Project records.

Video: Empires, How Good Does It Feel

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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.     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!

The Paraffins, Subhuman

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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.

Housekeeping: A Note on the Change in Administration

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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.

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

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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 Breakdown … Continue reading

2013: A Year in Pictures

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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, 2013   The Naturals, The Bowery Electric, New York, NY, April 6, 2013   Wise Girl, The Bowery Electric, New York, NY, April 6, 2013   Mud, Blood and Beer, The Bitter End, New York, NY, April 13, … Continue reading

Video: Brett Detar, Tried to Hate the Angels

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Tried to Hate the Angels is from Brett Detar’s shiny new record To Free To Live which he is giving away in return for email addresses at his website. Too Free to Live is Detar’s second solo effort, and I think the best summary I can give you is: he sounds like he’s relaxed into his groove. And oh, what a delightful groove it is, too. There are beautiful mournful ballads like the one below (Losers Baby, Broken Hymn); barroom stompers/clap-alongs (Satan’s Foot on My Neck, Please Don’t Go Away Like That); tunes to accompany the last run for the state line before the law closes in (Too Free To Live, I Can See The Darkness); and even a brief excursion into the blues (Damaged Girl). Another thing I can tell you: once you have watched this video and then surfed on over and acquired the record, make some time to listen to it straight through from start to finish with no interruptions or distractions, and relax into the groove yourself.