Shit Was Good

shit was good September 28, 2010

The Tallest Man at Webster Hall, “A Field of Birds” (video)

Last night’s opening song was “A Field of Birds”, an original theme song The Tallest Man on Earth recorded for the Yellow Bird Project.

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Photo by Chris La Putt.
If I weren’t in a hurry I’d tell you all about the show!

Download “A Field of Birds

shit was good April 21, 2010

The Tallest Man on Earth and Nurses at Highline Ballroom + Contest Winner

Kristian Matsson leaning back from the microphone at HIghline Ballroom

Kristian Matsson, who goes by the name The Tallest Man on Earth, knows what to expect from New York. Last night he played Highline Ballroom for the first time, a higher capacity venue than Bowery Ballroom and Music Hall of Williamsburg, and sold it out in advance.  This was an all-age show, which meant an avalanche of super excited young fans (“I don’t think you should go to school tomorrow”, said one little thing to the other after the show ended). The fans sang in the words that Kristian left out (“in your eyes babe”, “leather”). Someone yelled out something in Swedish, and Krisitian claimed the translation was “you fucking pussy”. He mocked the girl who yelled, “Say something in Swedish”. He addressed the impracticality of too many requests: “That Jackson Browne Cover”, “I Fall to Pieces”. “How can I sing them all?” is what he said, “We’ll be here all night”.

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shit was good February 7, 2010

Tune Yards at Bell House

tune yards at bellhouse

Not only is Tune Yards selling Bell House out these days, Merrill Garbus’ adoring fans knew all the words and sang along without being asked. The performance was superb; there were a few new songs.

This being her first headlining show in New York, she noted the newness of knowing that everyone present was there to specifically see her; and it was great to see the recent addition of a bass guitarist to what had previously been a solo stage act—not that she needed the extra help.

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shit was good January 28, 2010

Ana Lola Roman at Impose Test Patterns

ana-lola-roman-10

Look out for Ana Lola Roman! She’s like the punk-rock*, real life version of Uma Thurman’s character in Pulp Fiction. She even dances like her. It was a little difficult to get a good sense of the overall aesthetic from her set at Don Pedro’s last night (presented by Impose Magazine’s Test Patterns series); lots of texture was coming from pre-recorded sound bytes off her laptop, she was playing her synth, and she had a drummer. Noticeable right away, though, is that she’s very much a performer, doesn’t care too much about her tight pants hanging too low, and has an incredible voice. Being the simpleton that I am, I’d really like her to sing with just a good old piano at some point; her voice shouldn’t have to  hide underneath all that other noise, but then she’s the real life version of Uma Thurman’s character in Pulp Fiction, so I’m sure she enjoys the chaos.

*I use this term to loosely define a lifestyle.

Download Untitled, Track 2 (off Naturally More Molatov)
by Ana Lola Roman (via Impose, with permission)

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shit was good November 10, 2009

The kids love The Beets, and so do I

Two toddlers dance to the Beets at Brooklyn Museum

Two toddlers dance to the Beets at Brooklyn Museum

When I first saw The Beets in Austin, Texas, it was hard to tell if I liked them. Maybe it’s the extensive touring that has followed since, or just better PA systems, or even a clearer state of mind on my part, but I’ve grown to like them quite a bit.

Their album is called Spit in the Face of People Who Don’t Want to Be Cool, an apt command in the present’s muddle of music culture, especially in a place like New York City. In fact, the message on the packaging is worth noting: “The Million Dollar Man” threatens singer Juan about not signing to The Millionaire Records, and the text below reads, “A collection of one million songs about money, power and regret”; on the front, “A collection of 12 songs about being cool”. Those 12 tunes are all great lazy, lo-fi, catchy, moving about leisurely because their own wholesomeness produces plenty of direction, motion and speed to keep them all going, giving in only to friction and gravity, which brings them to a satisfying end.

They played with Crystal Stilts and Grass Widow past Saturday at the Brooklyn Museum, though I didn’t get to stick around for the last two. I made an attempt to listen as if (given the context that this was not their normal audience) I was listening to them for the first time, and from that viewpoint, it seemed like the music scene was in a good shape. Continue for all the pictures.

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Download “Happy But On My Way” by The Beets

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shit was good November 3, 2009

I've decided to buy Rolling Stones' Get Yer Ya-Ya's Out! live box set

rolling stones get yer ya-ya's out!

I went to see the 27-min Rolling Stones documentary, Get Yer Ya-Ya’s Out, last night and I absolutely loved it! If I understood correctly, the show filmed is the first time “the best band in the world” played “the best venue in the world” (Madison Square Garden), in 1969. At the very least, the footage of a shy Jimi Hendrix backstage and of a peppy Janis Joplin dancing at the sidelines made my day. But it’s really the clips of the first two songs, “Prodigal Son” and “You Gotta Move” that are stellar—stripped down, Mick Jagger sitting on a stool, accompanied only by Keith Richards on an acoustic guitar. Filmmaker Albert Maysles was present to introduce the film, though it would’ve been more fun if he was open for Q&A instead.

The box set includes a DVD of this short documentary, but if you’d rather not shell out $60 (or $42.99 on Amazon), IFC is still screening it three more times over the next three days.

shit was good July 26, 2009

Health, The Black Lips at the Pool Parties

Despite the Manhattan skyline and the presence of some grass, the Waterfront is no McCarren Pool; but Jelly NYC’s free Pool Parties are still a solid Sunday option. I was looking forward to see Health for the first time, and was more than pleased with their multiple drumming and seductive dancing. I haven’t quite gotten into The Black Lips, but their young fans put on an adventurous show–body-surfing, stage-diving, slamming the barriers against the stage, flipping the security guards, throwing a ukulele over one song in (which got smashed into bits within a few seconds.

The weather was on board for most of the day, but thunder and lightning eventually rolled on, and Trail of Dead’s set got canceled for safety reasons.

black lips

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shit was good July 9, 2009

Photos and audio: Dark Dark Dark at Sycamore

dark dark dark at sycamore

The memorable cello refrains that haunt most Dark Dark Dark songs were noticeably absent last night, as cellist Jonathan Kaiser wasn’t around, but there was plenty of heartbreak in the whimpers of Walt McClements’ trumpet, the wails of the clarinet, the sullenness of the piano, the bowed sounds of Todd Chandler’s upright bass, and Nona Marie’s able voice. To perk things up, there were, as always, the accordion and Marshall LaCount’s banjo. It was an intimate “Hooves on the Turf presents” show at the small space at Sycamore, and they played for about an hour. They play Le Poisson Rouge tonight at 9!

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shit was good June 25, 2009

Video: tUnE-yArDs at our Northside showcase

We’d invited Ray Concepcion to film our entire Northside Festival showcase at Trophy Bar, and he just sent in this beautiful segment from the tUnE-yArDs set. The song is “FIYA” from her fearless debut, Bird-Brains.

In case you missed it, read about this performance here.

shit was good June 22, 2009

Full audio: The Tallest Man on Earth at MHOW

Tallest Man on Earth

I was psyched to learn yesterday that The Tallest Man on Earth has run out of his last vinyl press of Shallow Grave (which included a 4-track 7″ of his self-titled EP). Well done, fans! I’m super thrilled because I remember holding my copy when I bought it and thinking, this is the one vinyl I’m most glad to own; my idea of a perfect record, with foot taps and all; if I were to use one word, it’d be “courage”. Think about it. A man from Sweden writing folky songs in English, with nothing but a guitar, and sometimes a banjo, finishing them up in a home-recorded style, and putting out a US-release on a small run of vinyl. It’s kind of an F.U. to the state of the music industry, if you ask me.

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  • Suraj Joshee: Sarahana, Loved the video. You captured the simple raw essence of the music and band really really...
  • Kevination: I love infectious songs.
  • Jipes: Another great post, I love the voice of this artist. Every time I come here I’m surprised which is...
  • Jipes: Not at all, I’m really sorry if my comment seems odd but compare to people like Tallest Man on Earth,...