Liz wrote, “I listened to Falcon’s self-released album, Disappear, one morning while puttering around. I couldn’t see my computer as the tracks played, and more than once, I thought I had left my iTunes on shuffle. I heard songs that sounded like Placebo, Arcade Fire, MGMT and Ratatat. But here’s the rub: Falcon’s songs were written well before any of those bands even existed.
“Neil Rosen (vocals, guitar) and Shannon Ferguson (lead guitar) formed Falcon in 2004. The inspiration behind the name, and the songs, is their junior high classmate Jared Falcon. Jared was institutionalized at 13, and left behind cassette tapes in a storage locker. Rosen and Ferguson took Jared’s work and brought it to life with the Eponymous EP in 2008 and now, Disappear. As I said before, I heard elements that have shown up in some of my favorite bands’ work over the years. This means that Jared Falcon was way ahead of his time. It’s both a shame and a blessing that he was institutionalized, I guess.
“The opening track ‘Say Goodbye’ is deceptively simple. Each time I listen, the meaning and feeling deepens. It’s angsty without being sappy and intense without being angry. I like the way it teeters on the brink of explosion throughout the song. It’s meant to be anxious.”
Read the rest of Liz’s review here.
“Raw Spectacle” - Miracle Fortress
Daniel Kohn reviewed the artist’s sophomore album, Was I The Wave?.
Daniel wrote, “The pace picks up on ‘Tracers.’ A dance beat on top of Euro-influenced synths make this a hipshaker. When Van Pelt finally introduces his voice over 90 seconds into the track, it adds an element or alt-pop that gives the song a complete sound. Again, the song sounds like something Eno would have produced and would be at home in a swanky London club where hipsters could bob their heads and dance.
“‘Raw Spectacle’ is more anthemic, with a hint of ‘Enjoy The Silence’ and late ‘80s Madchester sound. A catchy dance beat, interesting synths and an overall big sound shows that Van Pelt has a great sense of Euro-pop sensibility. A fast sound from the drum machine and clapping make this futuristic track standout.”
Read the rest of Daniel’s review here.
“Straight Street (feat. Meryem Seci) - Omar Offendum
Monica Christoffels reviewed the Arab-American rapper’s latest album, SyrianamericanA.
Monica wrote, “One of my favorites on the album include ‘Majnoon Layla,’ a song that could be best described as a modern, Middle Eastern Romeo and Juliet story. ‘Superhero’ is another stand-out track, in which Offendum stresses the need to rise up against oppressive forces (‘Look up in the sky, it's a bird, it's a plane / it's an Arab superhero and he came to bring change / unite the divided and free 'em from the chains / of the tyrants who reign in vain and pain’). And ‘Mother’s Day’ is a respectful, compelling track that addresses the pains every parent inevitably undertakes: spoken at the end of the song, Offendum says ‘one of the saddest ironies of a parent’s life is that they can love their child more than anything in this world, and yet that child is still capable of making their hearts feel the most pain.’ If that doesn’t make you want to go call or hug your parent(s), then you must have a heart of stone.
“And if you really want to be transported to a whole 'nother world, check out ‘Straight Street (featuring Meryem Seci).’ In this track about the historic, biblical road, Offendum raps about some of the interesting and knowledgeable people one can meet along the way - not just down the street, but metaphorically in life as well. That's something I really love about Offendum: he brings a full-circle perspective to his songs, with the richness of his Arab culture and a drive and determination that anyone - American or otherwise - can appreciate.”
Read the rest of Monica’s review here.
“Combination Pizza Hut Taco Bell” - Das Racist
Festivals editor Lauren Novik previewed this Sasquatch! artist, who will be performing on the Yeti stage Sunday, May 29 at 6:45 p.m.
Lauren wrote, “It takes a lot to make it in the rap scene nowadays. Mostly because the often fruitless endeavor is chalk-full of been there done that’s whose expiration date was so five minutes ago. But every so often there’s that old school sound with a new school vibe, something tried and true that still keeps a listener on their toes. That being said, anyone that can combine a 90’s hip hop sound with a little Billy Joel all up in the mix gets my immediate attention. Das Racist, you have my immediate attention.
“Remember when people were doing fresh things that married vintage music with a little modern twist- something that threw the listener for a loop and in some cases re-introduced them to an old forgotten fave? I’m talking like when Gym Class Heroes couldn’t get any kind of airplay because they sampled Supertramp (the radio heads finally realized what the hell they’d been missing and eventually gave them some action) that’s what I’m talking about.”
Read the rest of Lauren’s post here.
“Break the Spell” - All Mankind
Daniel Kohn recently interviewed Rich Beeston of All Mankind - here’s some of their conversation:
Daniel Kohn: What was it like performing at Musexpo? Events like this can be tough since it's a stuffy, industry crowd, did you find it as such?
Rich Beeston: The Musexpo shows were held at SIR in Holllywood. It's not just a performance venue, it's also got first-class rehearsal spaces, so some of the world's top artists are often hanging out there. I won't mention exactly who we saw and who was there at the time, but it was cool being amongst such a high level of musicians. The crowd were actually really friendly towards us, even though they were mostly people from the music industry. In the end, they are all music fans, and if they like something, they will definitely let you know (they'll also let you know if they don't like it)
DK: How is touring in the States different than touring in Australia? Are there any cities you want to play that you haven't yet?
RB: Playing in the States is great. Whilst Australia and the U.S. are roughly the same size physically, the U.S. has 10 times our population, so there are hundreds of millions people to play to. There are so many places we haven't played that we would like to get to. Every city seems like it has it's own character - like individual members of a massive family. So we would definitely like to meet everyone in the wider U.S. family, from the favourite sons through to the distant cousins that not many people know very well.
DK: What was it like recording with David Nicholas, Peter Mayes and Mike Crossey? Did they enstill any lessons that they may have taught some of the bigger acts they've worked with?
RB: Each of these guys brought their own experiences. We worked with Peter & David on our earlier EPs. When we worked with Peter, he was working on an Empire of the Sun record at the same time. He has a great mind for sonic landscapes. David Nicholas has worked with some massive Australian bands like INXS & Midnight Oil. He taught us a lot about song structure, and making sure every part of your song is strong. We worked with Mike Crossey for our upcoming album 'Simple Desire'. Mike does everything old school, from recording to tape, to using classic amps and guitars from decades ago. Mike has great experience in the UK with Arctic Monkeys, The Foals, and other awesome bands, and we had a great connection with him - it was like he was another member of the band. He really took our music to a whole new level.
Read the rest of Daniel’s interview here.
“Two” - The Antlers
Kristina Villarini previewed the band’s sold-out show at the Music Hall of Williamsburg in Brooklyn Thursday night.
Kristina wrote, “Originally a solo project of Peter Silberman, his first two solo records Uprooted and In the Attic of the Universe were relatively underwhelming and not received with the praise that occurred when he attached Michael Lerner and Darby Cicci to the project.
“In 2009, the group caught everyone off-guard, including themselves, with the success of Hospice, as it was one of the year's unexpected hits. The band was still unsigned at the time, and quickly went on to sign with Frenchkiss Records and re-release the album, which told the story of a Hospice worker and a terminally ill patient. It has been wildly speculated exactly what the record has meant to Silberman and how much truth has come from his own life, but those songs are an intensely moving, and at times, frightening combination of music and lyrics.”
Read the rest of Kristina’s preview here.
“Pillow Song” - Naked Hearts
Kelly Knapp previewed the band’s concert at Glasslands Thursday night.
Kelly wrote, “If you didn’t get tickets to The Antlers and Little Scream tonight at Music Hall of Williamsburg, here’s what show you should see instead: alternative pop duo Naked Hearts at Glasslands. Haussmann starts off the night at 8pm, with She Keeps Bees is next in the lineup, followed by electronic pop ensemble Keepaway, then Naked Hearts finish out the night as the headliner. Not a bad lineup for only $10. Naked Hearts represent the best of what’s coming brewing in Brooklyn right now, with fuzzy garage pop songs that makes them sound like they’re already a big deal. … Tickets for this show are available through Ticketfly and will also be sold at the door.”
Read the rest of Kelly’s post here.
Monica wrote, “Festivals editor Lauren Novik and I are super psyched for the upcoming Sasquatch! Music Festival this Memorial Day weekend, so when she recommended Head Like a Kite as a must-watch performance, naturally I had to investigate and see what all the fuss was about!
I initially thought it was a multi-person band, but Head Like a Kite is actually one man, Dave Einmo, who hails from Seattle. His third and latest album, Dreams Suspend Night, features guest appearances by Aysa of Smoosh, Tilson of the Saturday Knights, Her Space Holiday and more. Though it’s described as genre-breaking on HLAK’s official website, Einmo’s music can best be summed up as dance-funk-dance-pop-dance-dance-dance. Seriously - give it a listen and then try telling me differently. (On a personal note, I’m definitely going to have “Diamond Paint” on repeat from now until HLAK’s show. Just sayin’.)"
Read the rest of Monica’s post here.