Archive for Indie

You Mean You Never… + Upcoming Shows

Posted in Indie, Sentient Machine with tags , , , , on October 20, 2008 by Jillers

In a rare moment Saturday afternoon, I fell asleep around 2pm and slept all the way until 7pm, when someone called and woke me up, which means that I missed a show I promised I’d go to, and I feel really awful about it. So, let me tell you a bit about Sentient Machine.

I throw Sentient Machine into that group of music that I call “not my type, but you can tell are really good,” though I’ve realized that it’s unfair of me to classify any type of music like that. True, I may not go out of my way to listen to rock, heavy metal, or experimental music, but that doesn’t mean that when I hear it, I instantly hate it. Quite the contrary, I find when I listen to it, I don’t neccessarily hate it. In the case of Sentient Machine, whom I’ve only ever seen live, and never really listened to their tracks (until recenty), I often find myself at least tapping my foot in rhythm. I feel very sure that if I were too drink, I’d be full on dancing.

Their music lends itself well to a crowd that wants to have a good time moshing, and, again, fall into the category of “Better Live.” They know how to put on a show, and when they take solos (or give them to each other) it actually enhances the song, as opposed to some bands I’ve seen that take them in the wrong places and drag the song on longer than you really want any song to be.

Because I’m a jerk who missed their last show, I really want you all to go listen to their music. There isn’t a song of theirs up that I hate (though I love “Screamer”) — give them all a listen, go to their next show (whenever that is), and rock out.

Now, it falls on me to tell you about an exciting week coming up. Bands that I’ve reviewed, bands that I have plans to review, and bands I’ve never heard of, are all playing tons of shows for the CMJ Music Marathon (and Film Festival, but that would be for another blog, if I liked writing about moves, which I don’t).

I can’t even begin to name all of the artists playing this week, and where they’re all playing, because, quite frankly, it’s overwhelming. If I were more on top of things (and not notoriously poor, which is the real driving factor here), I’d register myself for a badge and go from venue to venue and see so many bands, I might collapse. If you have the money, today’s your last day to pre-register, or you can register on-site starting tomorrow (the 21st).

I’m excited about it, you should be too, unless you don’t live in NYC and can’t access this amazing event.

Editor’s Note: Sentient Machine lists several rock icons for their influences such as Faith No More, Type-o-Negative, David Bowie, and Alice In Chains.

You Mean You Haven’t Heard of Bess Rogers?

Posted in bess rogers, Indie with tags , , on October 13, 2008 by Jillers

Wednesday night found me at Union Hall, drinking hard cider, and listening to the music of a pretty fab lady called Bess Rogers.

It shouldn’t surprise anyone, at this point, that my history with Bess Rogers is largely a non-speaking one that goes back to SUNY Purchase, where a new band was formed, and died, every day.

I find her CD a poor alternative for the sound and energy produced at the live show — the songs seem more alive and have a stronger impact in person.

This is not to say I don’t love her album, Decisions Based on Information. “Modern Man” and “See Me, See You” for example, have fixed themselves permanently in my iPod’s playlist.

While I frequently find myself humming “I Would Never,” it’s more of pushing my belief that every band who is worth their grain (or whatever that metaphor is), should sound better live and have at least one live album.

What I like best about her music is that she’s able to use insturments, like the accordion, to their full potential — as something more than a novelty sound, woven expertly into the music, which manages to highlight the lyrics.

The music and the lyrics work with each other very well — the lyrics work with the music they’re put to, as opposed to being in juxtaposition to one another, or being lyrics that could work with another peice of music just as well. It’s this kind of cohesion that makes her music worth experiencing, and which has me excited for her next album…whenever that may be.

She has a few shows coming up in the NYC area that you should go to. Also, say “hi” to her after the show, as she is pretty awesome*

October 22nd 9pm Martini Red Staten Island, NY (I will definitely be here unless I have work)
October 24th 8pm The Canal Room NYC, NY
December 16th 8pm Rockwood Music Hall NYC, NY

*She made cookies and gave them out for free after her show on Wednesday; it’s illegal in NYC to be considered NOT awesome if you do that.

Preview and buy Bess Rogers music

You Mean You Haven’t Heard of The Age of Rockets?

Posted in Age of Rockets, Indie with tags , on October 5, 2008 by Jillers

I was feeling slightly under the weather last week, yet I went to the Knitting Factory to see Julius C debut new songs, which have a distinctly more classic rock feel to them; I stayed out until 2 am and over-exerted myself, and have been feeling pretty lousy and sick since. The upside is that I very well may have spread my cold to the various people I hung out with at the Knitting Factory [it makes me feel like a super-villain] and listening to The Age of Rockets.

The Age of Rockets is about as close to classical music as you can get nowadays. I assume, but what people have said, that they have a sound in the vein of The Postal Service… I can’t confirm this, as I don’t look at things outside of my bubble… but I’m going to say that I’d probably like the Postal Service, and if you like them, you’ll like Age of Rockets.

You can buy their CDs and EP from iTunes and Amazon (and they are recommended on Amazon). I, personally, have Hannah, and many of the tracks are on my night-time playlist.

The songs will equally relax you, and make you want to dance, in a way, I think, only makes sense if you listen to the tracks.

On my iPod I have “Avada Kedavra” (from Hannah, not the EP… though I play the EP version often too). “Elephant & Castle,” “Actors/Ghosts,” and “H Soft Escape” are also high on my plalist right now, so check them out.

If you’re in the area, they have some shows coming up that you should check out:
October 6th at 6pm @ The Bowery Ballroom, NYC
October 21st, at 8:45 @ Hiro Ballroom, NYC

As cold medicine has seemed to turn my brain to mush, I will leave it here, recommend you see The Age of Rockets, or at least download their music to judge them, because I think they’re worth the listen, and everyone needs to just chill out from time to time with some innovative music.

Support the Gears of Rock

You DID Hear About Them Already…Julius C

Posted in Indie, Julius C, Shows with tags , , on September 24, 2008 by Jillers

I know it seems too early to be repeating myself, but I felt it my duty to inform you that Julius C, who were the subject of my first review, are having a show at The Knitting Factory, this Thursday, Sept. 25th, at 9pm. Ok, in all fairness, it’s not jus Julius C, it’s a whole bunch of bands for the Media All-Stars Music and Arts Festival, so I recommend getting there early and staying late for a whole bunch of, what’s sure to be, truly awesome bands.

To recap: Julius C gives some of the most electric shows I’ve seen; their energy is high and contagious; their songs are unique (“good” unique, “different” unique, “memorable” unique, not “I-have-no-idea-how-to-describe-this-and-don’t-want-to-call-it-bad” unique), part rock, part soul, part funk, all awesome.

If you are in the NYC area this Thursday, and can stay out late, then you should find yourself at the Knitting Factory. Doors open at 6. Tickets are $20 at the door, or $15 if you buy them beforehand.

Hope to see you there!

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You Mean You Haven’t Heard of Paper and Sand?

Posted in Indie, Paper and Sand with tags , on September 14, 2008 by Jillers

I know I’m writing this a bit late, but between general internet lameness, seeing O’Death on a boat (by the way, I highly recommend seeing bands play on boats), getting in touch with old friends, apartment hunting, and going an 80’s Prom Night, I’ve been fairly exhausted, and not checking out new bands (which is horrible of me).

However, I can state, with absolute certainty, that you should clear your plans for October 3rd (a Friday), and go to Crash Mansion to see Paper and Sand.

I have to confess one of the jewels of my cd collection would be Wil Farr’s acoudtic demo cd that he gave out for free one night in the Co-Op, at SUNY Purchase… my cd has a bunch of stars (or pentagrams) drawn on it. Having only heard him as the guitarist for The Fire Flies, it was interesting to hear his own music, and what he was capable of.

The first thing you’ll notice when listening to PaS for the first time, if you’ve been paying attention to what I’ve been saying all this time, is that they are vastly different from The Fire Flies. While The Fire Flies have a distinctive pop sound to them, PaS are distinctly rock.

Listening to the lyrics is something that will take you a while to do, as you’ll be drawn into the song by the music alone. After a few listens, though, you’ll hear some amazing stream-of-concious lyrics, and vocals, by Wil Farr, that directly mirror the tone of the song, and are powerful.

PaS has an ep, with information on how to purchase it on their myspace. I highly recommend it: I have all 6 tracks on my iPod. You can sample some of them from their myspace: “A Million Miles,” “The Cruelest Joke, “and “The Age of Imperials,” though my favorite from “Wolf at my Door” is “I Lost my Head.” If you’re only going to buy one track, buy “Age of Imperials”: it’s a cynical, jaded song, and I approve of most things cynical. I’m currently really digging “Calling for Me,” which has not yet been released, save for their myspace.

For interests sake, Paper and Sand also have a myspace that has acoustic demos of their songs.

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Review: One Small Step – Another Shelter [2008]

Posted in One Small Step, SOS Metal Update with tags , , on September 4, 2008 by gearsofrock

Made in a basement bedroom by the male-female tandem One Small Step, Another Shelter combines indie rock twilight guitar loops with rave-esque keyboard fills and programmed drums for a synthetically-induced listen. Power-pop with electronic beats aplenty adorn this nine-track affair that would sound best at breakfast time after a neon-filled night. www.myspace.com/onesmallstep -Mike SOS

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You Mean You Haven’t Heard of Pro Audio?

Posted in Indie, Pro Audio with tags , , on September 4, 2008 by Jillers

Well, that’s cool, cause neither had I until a few weeks ago when I received a MySpace frined request from them. Now, I’m not a huge fan of bands friending me on MySpace: I have issues with people invading my personal internet space; besides, I barely have the time to follow all the bands I already do: it’s unlikely I’ll go see them, and I’m pretty big on going to see bands live before making a judgement call on them.
However, I do give every band that friends me a chance to impress me, so I went to Pro Aduio’s MySpace and gave them a chance.

So, here’s where I come clean: I’m a geek. I was a nerd, and a few years at college I brushed the arm of dorkdom; so when I saw a song named “FU Robot” I knew I had found a band I could appreciate.

Pro Audio isn’t for everyone, I’ll say that. If you don’t get why people like They Might Be Giants, who seem to be a heavy influence, then avoid them at all costs. If, however, you DO like TMBG, don’t mind hearing new things, and/or enjoy songs about robots, then you should give them a shot!
They have one album, Make the Happiness Stop, for which I can vouch, and one, Saturday We’re Even, which I can’t. They are both available to order through iTunes, Amazon, Emusic, Napster and Rhapsody, and Make the Happiness Stop can also be ordered through them. You can also stream their music for free at Last FM.

My iPod songs are “Identity Theft,” “The Entrails Song,” “F.U. Robot,” “Sean We Were Uncool” (watch the video!), The “King of Awkward Coversation, and: And Then I was a Cat.”

I would say their music falls in the realm of pop/alternative/nerd rock. There is a slightly experimental feel to some of the songs, but I woudln’t say there’s a really strong experimental element to them.

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You Mean You Haven’t Heard of O’Death?

Posted in Free Music, Indie, O'Death with tags , , on August 28, 2008 by Jillers

…Actually, there is a small chance that maybe you have heard of O’Death, as my roommate’s boyfriend has heard of them and didn’t go to college with us.
In case you haven’t though…
How to describe O’Death? Well.. they are certainly unique… I mean, I don’t think I’ve ever run across another Gothic/Country/Punk band out there… then again I don’t actively seek out the genre, since I am actually not a fan of country, punk, OR goth. Somehow, though, O’Death manages to combine all three elements into something that’s distinctively part country, part punk, and part goth…

…And all good. I know: it’s counter-intuitive.

Like many other bands I could name from my SUNY Purchase days, O’Death caught me by surprise. I certainly didn’t go out of my way to see them, but they were playing, and they were good, and I’m glad I accidentally discovered them and stuck with them.
Like all live shows I thrive on, their’s is full of energy; the crowd feeds off the energy from the band, who feeds off the energy from the crowd.
The best way I can think of to describe their music is this: Imagine the soundtrack to “O Brother, Where Art Thou?”*. Good, now imagine if Tim Burton had directed it.

I highly recommend all of their tracks, but if you are cheap and not willing to buy a whole album from a band that comes as a recommendation from some random person on the internet, you can try listening to these tracks (which always find their way on my iPod despite my intentions to change the playlist at least once a month)**:

Spider Home
Down to Rest
Adelita
Allie Mae Reynolds
O Lee O
Busted Old Church
All the World
Low Tide
I Think I’m Fine
Nimrod’s Son

There are also some free songs available here, including “Adelita” (which is my personal favorite of theirs, despite “Nimrod’s Son” having the lyric: “You are the son of incestuous union”, which, I think, makes it awesome by default).

They have a bunch of shows coming up, but only one in NYC, so if you are in the area on September 10th, I suggest buying tickets for this show, on a cruise ship, and seeing them, and feel free to say “Hi” to me (you know, assuming you can figure out who I am from my internet anonymity), because I am really excited to be seeing them again.
If you’re not in NYC, they may be coming around to your town, so besure to check out their myspace and check them out!

Next Week: A Band I didn’t go to school with! (I swear!)

*Also known as “That effin’ movie with George Clooney’s whose title I can never remember without going on IMDB

**It’s a short list, and it really hurts me that I can’t fit in songs like “Only Daughter” and “Nathaniel”… but I suppose sacrifices have to be made in order to have all the bands I love represented on my iPod (shuffle…. if someone wanted to… say… donate me a Zune….)

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You Should Go To These Totally Obscure Bands’ Shows!

Posted in Indie, Shows with tags , on August 18, 2008 by Jillers

As it happens, I sometimes don’t get to go out and have a good time at a club in NYC. Yes, even I get sick and, rather than become exhausted and just make my body hate me more than it already does, I spend most of my non-work time sleeping… Actually, since I work overnights at a dog kennel, I spend most of my work hours sleeping too… So there ya’ go: my week has pretty much been me sleeping, and arguing with my head to stop hurting (to which it replies: I hate you!).
However, I won’t leave you article-less this week, but I haven’t really used the energy I have saved up for listening to bands and taking the time to write something… fairly thoughtful… about an indie band, even one I’ve been following for years.
My solution to this (and any other time I’m pretty unable to write about a band because life, being what it is, sometimes smacks you upside the head with a stop sign… or yield sign, as it were), is to tell you all about shows that the bands I follow have coming up, through the end of August.

So, in no particular order, other than the random placement on my myspace:

The Age of Rockets
Aug 29 2008 7:30P
Toquet Hall Westport, Connecticut

Caitlin Krisko & The Broadcast
Aug 22 2008 7:00P
Highline Ballroom NYC, New York

Glass Fence
Aug 20 2008 9:00P
Sadie Rene’s North Canton, Ohio
Aug 21 2008 8:00P
Bernie’s Distillery Columbus, Ohio
Aug 22 2008 8:00P
The Hidden Cove- BANDS NEEDED! Bourbonnais, Illinois
Aug 30 2008 8:00P
Rhino’s Youth Center Bloomington, Indiana

Gregory & The Hawk
Aug 22 2008 8:00P
Modern Formations Gallery (all ages) Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania
Aug 23 2008 7:00P
AV Aerie (all ages) Chicago, Illinois

Happy Anarchy
Aug 26 2008 8:00P
THE KHYBER Philadelphia, Pennsylvania

Please Dept.
Aug 25 2008 9:00P
Goodbye Blue Monday Brooklyn, New York

Bess Rogers
Aug 27 2008 9:30P
Joe’s Pub w/ The Paper Raincoat! New York, New York

O’Death
Aug 28 2008 8:00P
Le Divan Orange Montreal, Quebec
Aug 29 2008 8:00P
Bar El Passo Saloon Rouyn-Noranda, Quebec
Aug 30 2008 8:00P
Bar El Passo Saloon Rouyn-Noranda, Quebec

Laura Cheadle
Aug 23 2008 6:45P
World Cafe Live
Beta Hi-Fi Festival Philadelphia, Pennsylvania

Paral-lel
Aug 30 2008 8:00P
WoodsTower festival Miribel, Rhône-Alpes

Ingrid Michaelson
Aug 26 Anderson Center Binghamton, NY, USA
Aug 31 Bumbershoot Festival Seattle, WA, USA

Last Go
Aug 28 2008 8:00P
Purple Turtle LDN, London and South East

The Heavy Weather
Aug 20 2008 9:30P
Martini Red (film night-acoustic) Staten Island, New York
Aug 22 2008 10:00P
Martini Red with FULL Band. Staten Island, New York

Supermajor
Aug 26 2008 7:15P
Ace of Clubs New York, New York

Reviews of these bands coming soon, I swear!

-Jillers

You Mean You Haven’t Heard of Kiss Kiss?

Posted in Indie, Kiss Kiss with tags , , on August 8, 2008 by Jillers

Beethovan + Electric Guitars + Passionate lyrics + Mosh Pit = Kiss Kiss

There are bands that are all about the live show; the CD exists so you can relive the live show. Then there are bands that have nothing else to offer other than what they put out on their albums. Then there’s Kiss Kiss.

Kiss Kiss… well… I love Kiss Kiss. They are both about their live show, and their CD.

See, when you first see a Kiss Kiss show, despite what I’m gong to tell you, you won’t be prepared for it. People generally have one of two reactions:

1.) What the hell is this noise?

2.) This noise is awesome!

The “What the hell is this noise?” crowd were actually few and far between at SUNY Purchase , where Kiss Kiss, like many other bands I already have the capacity to review, formed a while ago ( like most things about my college years, dates and times… and events… are hazy, so I don’t have exact dates for you), but I’ve seen them… often they are people there for another band, that are intrigued by the classic-sounding music, but are thrown off by this sudden descent into chaos and noise, with the lead singer’s voice often overpowered by the music, and the speed of the lyrics making them hard to understand… I’ve always imagined him a mumbler myself.

Then there’s the crowd of “This noise is awesome!”. Drawn in by the same intrigue as the previous group, something about the chaos draws us in even more, and we become enchanted by it. The chaos isn’t just chaos. It’s the most organized musical chaos you may ever see in your life, and the “noise” isn’t noise at all, but more experiments with sounds (a popular theme in Purchase at the time, though not every band that tried to experiment with feedback, sound and volume, were as successful).

Kiss Kiss is certainly all about the live show, but I think, personally, you need their album to appreciate the live performance more. Listening to the music on their CDs, you can certainly hear the vocals much better, and hear the poetry that is in the lyrics, and how those lyrics work with the music… it’s from listening to the album that you appreciate the finely orchestrated chaos that is Kiss Kiss, and you gain even more appreciation for that organized chaos when you watch them on stage: energetic, playing off of each other, and going beyond what they put on their album. A Kiss Kiss show is an adventure every time…

Speaking of albums, they have two out now, and are currently working on a (very cursed, it seems) third one.

There is their self-titled EP, and Reality vs. The Optimist. “Satellite” and “Machines”, both great songs, are available for purchase off of iTunes, though you could just go here and buy Kiss Kiss for $3.00, and Reality vs The Optimist for $5.00, which is a great deal for 12 songs… or 17 if you buy both (though I’d hurry up and take advantage of the sale, which is only through the end of the summer).

If you’re in the area, they have one show coming up:

“August, 9 2008 at Welcome To Rockland Fest @ The Nyack Center w/ BIG D AND THE KIDS TABLE, THE 12 LOOKS LIKE YOU!!
58 Depew Ave., Nyack, NY, 10960
Cost : $20 adv./$22 day of show”

Songs to definitely catch by Kiss Kiss: “Says My Doctor”, “College Film”, “Killing the Son”

Reality vs The Optimist: “Janet”, “Sixth Sense”, “Machines”, “Satellite”, “Stay The Day”