2011 December | The Audio Perv
Archive for December, 2011
31 Dec

Before you decide to rip on or rave about the following top ten list, you should know that the picks are all from our writer Ace Ubas. Ace did a tremendous job covering festivals and concerts for us all year and listening to and writing about a lot of the music that YOU enjoy. This site has a large and diverse demographic but Ace’s picks are pretty representative of the taste in music of the majority of our readers. Check out Ace’s top ten albums of the year.

10. Sister Crayon-Bellow

I’ll admit Sister Crayon’s Bellow was rather a late entry into my top 10. Though this album came out early in the year, I didn’t get around to listening to it until last month prior to seeing them live. Regardless, I feel that this is an overlooked album since no one I know has actually heard of them. Bellow is their impressive debut that blends elements of shoegaze/electronica (i.e. School of Seven Bells) and dream-pop that’s reminiscent of label-mates Warpaint and Beach House. The highlight of their music is centered on vocalist Terra Lopez, whose powerful-yet-haunting voice shines through the hazy atmosphere of synths and electronic percussion.

9. North Highlands-Wild One

Wild One by Brooklyn-based North Highlands is another album that has flown under-the-radar that I feel deserves recognition and attention. Main songwriter/vocalist/keyboardist Brenda Malvini shows off her chops as a witty lyricist as she writes about themes of longing and nostalgia, while she sings them in a huskier Annie Clark-like manner. Musically, they’re more along the pop side of things (think Minus the Bear), but incorporate post-rock melodies into their songs. From opening track “Bruce” to closer “Here’s,” it’s 11 of the most infectious songs that I’ve heard all year.

8. The Horrors-Skying

With their first album Strange House, The Horrors were heavily criticized for their outdated goth rock sound that was paired along their excessive gothic look. Then their second album Primary Colours saw a shift towards a more post-punk sound, which transferred to their impressive third LP, Skying. This time around, they managed to incorporate more shoegazey guitars while putting their own twist to 80s new wave. This is definitely a mature and confident band has me excited for what they’re going to put out next.

7. Gang Gang Dance-Eye Contact

If there’s one word to describe Gang Gang Dance, it’s otherworldly. Not only does their music sound something that’s not from this world, but it has the ability to take you out of this world. But in all seriousness, Gang Gang Dance is really the only band that I know that produces “world music.” What I mean by that is that their songs are bluntly influenced by pop music from the Middle Eastern and Asian regions. Eye Contact is easily the best album in their catalog as it blends their interpretation of world music with electronic beats and My Bloody Valentine-esque soundscapes. There really is no other band that’s comparable to Gang Gang Dance and “Eye Contact” proves it.

6. Wild Beasts-Smother

You know the saying “three times’ the charm?” That saying applies to Wild Beasts and their third LP and Mercury Prize-nominated Smother. The only exception is that their previous two albums were also “charms.” There is no other band that comes into mind that has the dramatic vocal styles of Hayden Thorpe’s counter-tenor or Tom Fleming’s baritone. Together, their vocals intertwine seductively with the romantic lyrics that make Wild Beasts as the most sexually erotic band today, making them a musical aphrodisiac.

5. Wye Oak-Civilian

Listening to Wye Oak, it’s hard to believe that the band is comprised of the duo of drummer/keyboardist Andy Stack and vocalist/guitarist Jenn Wasner. Wye Oak is essentially a folk-rock band, but what makes them unique is that they incorporate a lot of reverb on the guitars, almost to the point where you can call it shoegaze. Wasner’s husky voice is reminiscent of Beach House’s Victoria LeGrande that gives their music a certain charm. But it’s Stack that steals the spotlight with his aggressive drumming and subtle
keys. In a live setting, they’re even more impressive as he plays the drums and keys at the same time with relative ease. If 2011 was the year that they made themselves known, 2012 will be the year that they make an impact – I guarantee it.

4. St. Vincent-Strange Mercy

Under the moniker St. Vincent, Annie Clark has become one of the most prominent musicians in the indie music scene. Her latest effort Strange Mercy is, without a doubt, one of the best records of year. What makes Clark standout is her ferocious guitar-playing ability such as on tracks “Surgeon” and “Cruel.” Then again, she has always been known for her maniacal riffs. What’s different this time around from her previous work is the dressing that she adds to her salad. The spontaneous string arrangements, melodic keys, and blistering distortion make this album pleasantly unpredictable. If you haven’t listened to St. Vincent before, what are you waiting for?

3. Active Child-You Are All I See

Harp: Check. Classically trained falsetto: Check. No I’m not talking about Joanna Newsom. On paper, it may seem like I’m describing her, but rather, I’m talking about Pat Grossi, who has been the biggest surprise for me this year. It didn’t take long for me to be blown away by You Are All I See – it only took the first two tracks to make my ears have an audible orgasm. As an L.A. native, I’m still beating myself up over the fact that it took me awhile to even find out about him since he’s local. Clocking in at just under an hour, “You Are All I See” is a nice blend of classical aesthetics and electronic beats with the aforementioned harp as the central instrument. And because of the reverb, the songs sound like they should be transcending beyond the listener’s ears – it’s that expansive. Tell me what other musician can intricately play a harp and sing a pitch-perfect falsetto on top of an electronic foundation? Go on, I don’t mind waiting.

2. Braids-Native Speaker

Braids, the quartet hailing from Montreal, was a band that I wasn’t familiar with until I saw them play live a few months ago, where they were so highly impressive that I bought their 12” debut. They garner a lot of comparisons to Animal Collective, but other than the minor psychedelic factor in their music, that comparison doesn’t do them justice. The vocal melodies seem to create their own wall of sound since they come from all four members, led by vocalist/guitarist Raphaelle Standell-Preston. And the swirling guitars give them a post-rock quality to them. What’s even more impressive are the lyrics that are delve into themes of sexual curiosity and maturity that come off as poetic. The most exciting thing about this band is that they’re young. The future for them is vast and because of that, I’m already excited for their next release.

1. WU LYF-Go Tell Fire to the Mountain

“WU LYF? Who LYF? No Bon Iver or Fleet Foxes? This is a BS list!” Calm down, their albums were good, but it wasn’t good enough to make it a favorite like World Unite Lucifer Youth Foundation’s debut album, Go Tell Fire to the Mountain. This quartet from Manchester, England burst onto the scene with such a gritty effort, yet they put up a shroud of mystery behind their own identities by declining to do interviews at first, dictating the focus to solely be on their music. There’s also a DIY factor behind them by starting up their own label, LYF Recordings, just to put out their album so there is that kind of punk aesthetic of doing things. Musically, their songs contain plenty of post-rock melodies in a pop structure with vocalist Ellory Roberts’ Tom Waits-like gravelly singing style in between. All this put together results in their own self-branded genre, heavy-pop. Some may be turned off by Roberts’ incomprehensible vocals, but it definitely injects a certain type of energy that isn’t found anywhere else. For bands putting out debut albums, it’s not often that they create something so original and unique. WU LYF is one of those rare bands, making them an easy selection into people’s year-end list. It doesn’t take long to soak in their tunes, so once you have, be prepared for their second album that’s slated for released next year.

31 Dec

For New Years Eve in New York City, you always have a ton of options. If you want to avoid paying over $100 a head for a limited open bar and finger foods, you should consider going to a concert. If you’re not a Phish phan (sorry, had to do it), you should head over to the Bowery Electric (tix) to see New York City garage rock veterans the Fleshtones headline a special New Year’s Eve rock show. In addition, you’ll get to catch The Waldos (ft. Walter Lure of Johnny Thunder’s Heartbreakers), The Todd Youth All-Stars, The Threads, and The Dead Tricks. This show’s indie, it’s punk and a little rockabilly (there will be a SURPRISE SPECIAL GUEST!).

Doors open at 7:30pm, tickets are $20. Pick them up here now to avoid the wait. If you can’t make it to the show, don’t worry! The whole thing will be BROADCAST LIVE at RealPunkRadio.com!

The Fleshtones w/The Waldos (featuring Walter Lure of Johnny Thunder’s Heartbreakers), The Todd Youth All-Stars, The Threads, The Dead Tricks and a SURPRISE ROCKABILLY GUEST!)
Saturday December 31, 2011
Bowery Electric
327 Bowery
New York, NY 10003

Ages 21+
7:30pm doors

31 Dec

JANE’S ADDICTION–frontman Perry Farrell, guitarist Dave Navarro and drummer Stephen Perkins, along with Chris Chaney on bass–will ring in 2012 with a special New Year’s Eve show at the Belly Up in Aspen, Colorado (their third annual New Year’s Eve show at this intimate venue). The alt-rock pioneers’ intimate Rocky Mountain spectacular will be shared with music fans via a live broadcast on Sirius XM’s Lithium Channel 34, starting tomorrow night (Saturday, December 31) at 11:15 pm MT sharp.

2011 was a milestone year for JANE’S ADDICTION, marking the release of their first studio album in eight years, THE GREAT ESCAPE ARTIST (Capitol Records). Rolling Stone described the Rich Costey-produced album as “classic Jane’s–all yowling vocals and sensual waves of music cascading and peaking (10/27/11),” while USA Today said the album finds “…core members Farrell, guitarist Dave Navarro and drummer Stephen Perkins conjuring the feral drive and mystical haze of those early works with a fresh kick to the band’s electro-rock meld (10/17/11).” The album features “Irresistible Force,” the transfixing Top Ten alternative rock hit they performed on “Jimmy Kimmel Live.” Currently, the new “Underground” is buzzing in clubs and on radio with its video set to be made available in the coming weeks. The band debuted “Underground” on “The Late Show with David Letterman” this past fall.

Also in 2011, JANE’S ADDICTION headlined numerous major events such as the launch of Lollapalooza Chile, Gathering of the Vibes, the iHeart Radio Festival in Las Vegas and the DeLuna Festival. In June, they were inducted into Guitar Center’s RockWalk by Rage Against The Machine’s Tom Morello who said:

“Nirvana often gets credit for being the first ‘alternative’ band to break through, the band that changed music and led rock out of the hair metal wilderness of the ‘80’s. That’s just not true. It was Jane’s Addiction. Inspiring, intelligent, furiously rocking and artistically deep as f**k.” Read the entire text of Morello’s induction speech here

In 2012, look for JANE’S ADDICTION to take their musical celebration on a world tour including a headlining slot at the debut of Lollapalooza Brazil in Sao Paulo April 7-8. Additional dates to be announced.


Follow the band on Twitter:

29 Dec

By Keeyahtay Lewis

I said it earlier, this has been a great year for concerts. So many good shows. Unfortunately, two of my favorite bands also decided to call it quits this year (Or go on a hiatus, indefinitely). In October, both Thrice and Thursday announced that they would be going on an indefinite hiatus. I saw Thrice back in October, and on December 26th I was there for what could be Thursday’s last New Jersey show.

Being a band from New Brunswick, NJ and this being their last area show, at least for a while, I knew that Thursday would put on an amazing show. I don’t think anyone was prepared for how good it would be though. Opening with “Open Quotes” from their newest album, No Devolución, they whipped everyone into a frenzy right off the bat. Then they followed that with the one, two punch of “For The Workforce, Drowning” and their biggest hit “Understanding In A Car Crash.” Holy shit. What an incredible start.

Singer Geoff Rickly said right away that they were going to be playing a special, long set. Every song was a hit with the audience, they matched the bands energy note for note. Songs like “Division Street”, “War All The Time”, and “Signals Over The Air”, “Counting 5-4-3-2-1″ were met with a furious uproar. When “Full Collapse” was recorded, singer Tom Schlatter did the screaming parts on the album. He is formerly of the band You And I, and a friend of the band. He joined them on stage for “Cross Out The Eyes” and “Autobiography of a Nation.” Before these songs Rickly mentioned how Schlatter was the only one that could do the songs justice, and the songs could only be done how they were meant to be, at home.

Rickly commanded center stage, but the band kept things moving along smoothly. Guitarists Tom Keeley and Steve Pedulla, bassist Tim Payne and keyboardist Andrew Everding mostly stood in front of their mic stands occasionally adding shouted vocals to the fray. Drummer Tucker Rule stayed behind the kit keeping the rock train rolling. The band sounded tight and fantastic. It was bittersweet to see how much fun everyone was clearly having, knowing that this might be the last time we see them all play together.

Throughout the show Rickly kept mentioning how greatful they all were to have come from such humble beginnings in New Brunswick basements that led to a 13 year career. At one point before their last song before the encore the audience started chanting, “Thank You Thursday!” over and over. Everyone on stage just stopped and stared out for a full minute while everyone continued to chant. Rickly thanked everyone and said he was getting choked up. Then he made mention of the “emo” title that had been bestowed on the band for the last 13 years and said it definitely couldn’t cry on stage in front of everyone. He wasn’t the only one getting choked up, though. In between the screams and the cheering and the screaming of lyrics, there were many tears in the audience. It was clear to see how much this band meant to everyone in the room.

Thursday left the stage after a 16 song set and returned a few minutes later for a 3 song encore. They opened this up with the song “Stay True.” This song has never been played live before and even though it is one of their newer songs, everyone went crazy when it was played. They closed out the set with “Jet Black New Year” and a song about their home, “Turnpike Divides.” The band left the stage with waves for everyone, then came right back out for a final bow and a picture in front of their hometown crowd.

I don’t know what else to say that hasn’t already been said about Thursday. The band have spent the last 13 years building something that won’t be soon forgotten. Along the way they have made fans and friends of everyone. After the encore the audience once again chanted “Thank You, Thursday” over and over. I don’t know what else I could say about this show, and this band. Thank you, Thursday. You will be missed.

All photos courtesy of Keeyahtay Lewis. Check out more of his photos at DeadBoltPhotos.com

29 Dec

We know that you’ve had your fill of Christmas songs and can’t wait to rock in the new year at your favorite bar (or with Lady Gaga on TV). Maybe you don’t have plans yet and that’s got Zooey Deschanel and Joseph Gordon-Levitt wondering “What Are You Doing New Years Eve?.” The two heartbreakers (Sorry Ben Gibbard and every girl who watched the movie 50/50) posted a video on YouTube with them performing with a ukulele, acoustic guitar and their sweet, sweet voices.

Check out the video:

28 Dec

Bush frontman Gavin Rossdale was interviewed on last week’s Last Call with Carson Daly. Get to know Gavin a little bit better in the video below:

28 Dec

Foster The People performed “Call It What You Want” and “Warrant” on Last Call with Carson Daly.

Watch the videos below and pick up Torches on iTunes, Amazon MP3, CD, Vinyl

Call It What You Want


27 Dec

By Michel Dussack

O’Brother are all at once an ambient, indie and post-hardcore band that are wrapping up a tour with Moving Mountains, La Dispute and Thrice. The band has also opened for Biffy Clyro and Cage The Elephant. Their live shows are a combination of beautiful quiet moments scattered amount bursts of impossibly loud yet clear songs. I got the chance to sit down with vocalist Tanner Merritt, guitarist Johnny Dang, and drummer Michael Martens after one of their sets on this tour to talk about their upcoming album Garden Window, as well as the tour and future plans. Oh and the zombie apocalypse of course!

Q: Ok so let’s talk about the upcoming album, Garden Window, first, and more specifically the name of the album

Tanner: It was a line from one of the songs, and the whole idea behind it was just like a view of life, like everything from start to finish. Like using a very organic metaphor, life from a different perspective, ya know from an outside perspective, just a view of life as it relates to nature.

Q. Who did the artwork for the album?
Michael: Our guitarist Aaron, and it’s all just line drawings and watercolors and he’s been working on it…he probably started it a little over a year ago actually. Yeah he also did the art for the last EP that we released a couple years ago.

Q: What would you say is your favorite track on the new album?
Tanner: Probably different for every one of us
Michael: Favorite song to play or listen to?

Q: Whichever you’d rather talk about
Tanner: My favorite song to play right now is Poison
Michael: That’s what I was going to say too, mostly that, the second half of it
Johnny: Lay Down
Michael: That would probably be tied, Lay Down and Poison
Johnny: They kind of go into each other so live, and even on the record they’re kind of just one song

Q: Ah ok, yeah on the advance stream they definitely chop them up so I wasn’t sure
Michael: Yeah there’s a couple songs, like Machines Part I and Machines Part II uhm like on record, they were basically one song but we split them into two so we could play them separate. Same thing with Poison and Lay Down, there’s a smooth transition that you can’t hear on the stream

Q: Would you say that there are any significant changes in your sound from the last couple EPs that you’ve released?
Michael: I think you can tell we’ve been touring a lot, and that we grew as a band. One of the things we tried to do a little different with this record was not be so dynamic within each song, but be more dynamic from song to song. Because on a five song EP you don’t really have the ability and the freedom to do that, but when you do 11 songs, or more, or any kind of full length, you’re able to….there’s more breathing room. Your highs can be higher and your lows can be lower. It was nice to be able to kind do whatever we wanted.

Q: Would you say there’s a central theme that ties the whole album together despite it being dynamic?
Tanner: I think it’s kind of true with like any piece of art that’s put together at one period time. It’s whatever you’re thinking about at the time. There was a lot of common themes, and we tried to reference other songs within songs. We wanted the record as a whole to seem like one body of work rather than a collection of songs that were just thrown together. And that’s really important to us, and that’s what we were trying to do. Yeah so we tried, and I hope it comes through

Q: You’ve had some pretty high profile support slots with Biffy Clyro, Cage The Elephant and now Thrice. Do you forsee a headlining tour soon?
Michael: Probably spring or summer, definitely before the middle of next year I would say. But uh there’s a couple plans we have, Anton our bassist is getting married in February. We’ve got a few things we’re working on for late February, early March. Personally I’d like to do one more solid support tour before we go out, because it’s scary. We’ve done like headlining spot dates, but we’ve never done like any headlining tour before, and I just want to make sure it’s solid
Tanner: It’s fucking frightening to think about

Q: You seemed to have gotten a great reaction tonight…
Michael: I do think it will be a very positive experience. You know it’s hard to tell on tours like this because there’s so many different types of fans. There’s the people that absolutely love your music and they come up and tell you that every single time they see you. And then there’s people like me. Like when I go to see bands, bands that I like, I don’t tell them that I like them, like, I don’t tell them that I’ve come to see them a couple times, but I’m there. So I think there’s definitely people that have seen us a couple times that we don’t know about

Q: Do you guys name your guitars?
Michael: I don’t think anybody names their guitars, really we always name our van. Do you guys have any names for your guitars?
Johnny: Nah
Michael: The only experience I’ve ever had is from naming different vehicles-
Tanner: -I think I did but I don’t remember them. At one time maybe…
Michael: Yeah we’ve just done vans…Vangina, and Lt. Van. Forrest Gump’s our favorite movie

Q: You guys have been playing different opening slots throughout this tour…which spot do you prefer?
Tanner: We were just talking about that. I honestly don’t know. Playing second is awesome but you have absolutely no soundcheck and you have 15 minutes from when the first band finishes to when you go on. And you’re doing it in front of people. So, it’s nice to be first and have your soundcheck and leave and then come back and hopefully everything is the same.
Michael: It kind of depends on my stress level for the day
Tanner: Sometimes the second slots have gone well, like if it’s taking a long time for the venue to get people inside the room and there’s like a line outside and sometimes they’re slow about getting people inside then sometimes second can be beneficial
Johnny: Second and third are kind of the same, because third, there’s more people there which is a good thing…
Tanner: …yeah we’ve done all three this tour
Michael: Yeah, it makes it really hard to get into a certain groove or pattern but luckily everyone on this tour has been really easy to work with

Q: What would you say sets you apart from other emerging bands right now?
Michael: Music-
Tanner: Our willingness to kill them to get to the top, we’re not afraid to knock them off
Johnny: I’ve handmade some bow and arrows. I’m gonna snipe everyone on the foodchain
Tanner: Johnny might be a ninja
Johnny: But a true ninja does not reveal his secrets
Tanner: His ninja status?
Johnny: Or his whereabouts…I don’t think a true ninja drinks Budweiser either
Michael: I think the music, ya know, to be an up and coming and emerging band you have to know that you have to bust your ass all the time. So really in that way, hopefully for a lot of other emerging bands we’re the same. We’re always gonna work as hard as we can and hopefully harder than any other band that is in the same ya know group as us or same circumstances

Q: Which one of you would most likely survive a zombie apocalypse the longest?
Johnny: Damn that’s a good question
Michael: Well Tanner can’t run very fast so he’s probably out
Johnny: You don’t know his strategies though!
Tanner: Yeah I would eat the zombie first
Michael: But I’ve seen you in stressful situations and you kind of freak
Johnny: But I mean, listen, I think Tanner would be the one that would actually survive
Tanner: I’m the only one who has experience building bombs
Michael: I lit a driveway on fire once making homemade napalm, so I’ve got that going for me…Johnny’s kind of small so I don’t know that they would be interested in eating bones
Johnny: I’d be the first to go, me or Aaron
Michael: Aaron wouldn’t realize that the zombie apocalypse is happening
Tanner: Actually, I think he’s the answer because he would probably be the one person locked in a room that had no idea what was going on outside
Johnny: He’s snaking on chips
Tanner: He would be that one guy in the movie that wakes up from a coma and the rest of the world is zombies. But he wasn’t in a coma he was just eating chips the whole time.
Michael: We’d probably just all end up dead to be honest

26 Dec

Laura Marling performed “I Was Just A Card” and “Ghosts” at the Troubadour in Los Angeles on Last Call with Carson Daly.

Watch both videos below and pick up the album A Creature I Don’t Know on iTunes, Amazon MP3, CD, Vinyl

I Was Just A Card


25 Dec

While the third release from the Strange Boys might continue their trajectory of becoming more refined, tight, and hi-fi, there is a bit of a backdrift in the album. Not necessarily a bad thing like the connotation would make someone assume, but perhaps a bit of a nostalgic regression into a time where you’d hear a band like them on a jukebox.

The new album, Live Music adds a new instrument to the Strange Boys’ arsenal of garage instruments. They bring a piano into the forefront of most the album, and it’s pretty refreshing. Combined with the grittyness of their guitar and harmonica, the piano adds a nice clean touch to the album with its simple parts.

As the album progresses, you can hear their Texas roots emerge as their album borderlines some Americana sensibilities at many points. Take the ending two minutes of “Doueh,: which sounds like it was ripped straight from the pages of Wilco’s Sky Blue Sky. However, from there the relaxed outro of that song goes into the slightly frantic “Punk’s Pajamas” which is a must-listen for any Walkmen fan. Raunchy guitars, harmonica in the background, frenetic drums, and Ryan Sambol’s vocals have a cadence that would be easily mistaken for Hamilton Leithauser.

For more Americana goodness, you could also listen to “Mama Shelter”, a bit of The Band meets a bit of punk, and it works. But, even if you’re not too enamored with the idea of Strange Boys going soft on you, you can find the same fuzz and sway on tracks like “Hidden Meaning, Soul Graffiti” or just listen closely to any of the other 13 songs on the record, those fuzzy-garage ideas are still there, only partnered with new ideas and new instrumentation.

In the end, the album culminates with the short “Opus.” Now, by no means is this opus as large scale as the name would imply, but it’s a nice way to end the album. It’s almost like a stripped down attempt at a short pop-guitar symphony, a little added bonus two minutes of pleasant outro solace. Imagining the Strange Boys conducting a little symphony in a garage is nice, isn’t it?