Filed under: 20 Watts Video, City Sounds, Concert Stories, XCLUS!VES | Tags: 20 Watts Video, Brooklyn, City Sounds, concert, concert coverage, DJ Rupture, Gang Gand Dance, Music Hall of Williamsburg
PREVIEW: Gang Gang Dance’s MySpace
It’s not everyday I totally misread a band, but then I have one of those brain fart moments, like when I saw Gang Gang Dance at the Music Hall of Williamsburg. For some reason, I thought I was walking into a techno-mashup DJ party, but it turned out to be more like a tribal rain dance festival. The crowd was swerving and jiving like it was the summer of 1969, and the whole time I felt like I was missing out on the psychedelics evidently being passed around. No matter, because even though the concert was a bit dull, it was fascinating to watch–especially their fidgety hipster mascot wearing the wool mask.
Filed under: XCLUS!VES | Tags: Alberta, Brooklyn, Casio, In the Aeroplane over the Sea, Music Hall of Williamsburg, Neutral Milk Hotel, Nils Edenloff, Saddle Creek, Seagull, The Antlers, The Rural Alberta Advantage, Toronto
Signing to Saddle Creek, releasing an acclaimed debut, and touring extensively have made this a pretty banner year for The Rural Alberta Advantage. Guitarist/vocalist/keyboardist Nils Edenloff talked to 20 Watts just the other day about his experiences, the band’s origins, and our mutual affinity for The Antlers and Neutral Milk Hotel. The RAA’s Hometowns was re-released by Saddle Creek earlier this year and you can catch The Rural Alberta Advantage playing the Positive Jam at Stewart Park, on the beautiful shores of Cayuga Lake, at 1:30pm, on Sunday, Sept. 6!
20W: So to start off, why do you call yourselves The Rural Alberta Advantage? What’s the origin of the name? Did you guys ever go by any other name?
Edenloff: It’s the only name we’ve ever used. It has to do with looking back on Alberta — where I grew up — and we make a lot of references to it. The name actually comes from a play on a provincial slogan, which is now defunct, called “The Alberta Advantage,” championing the oil sands industry. My brother once emailed me the suggestion, and it stuck.
20W: How long have you guys known each other? How did you meet?
Edenloff: We’ve known each other for a long time. Paul [Banwatt], Amy [Cole] and a friend of mine used to play in another band called Clementine. Eventually Paul and I started co-hosting open-mic nights. The first year, there was kind of a fluctuating line-up, with nothing really set in stone. I think when the three of us started playing together — Paul, Amy and myself — that was when the band really started, in February, 2006.
20W: The RAA signed to Saddle Creek earlier this year after Hometowns took off. Has the experience of being signed to a major indie label changed your approach to music at all? Continue reading
Filed under: Emerging Artists, XCLUS!VES | Tags: Afro, Alex Toth, Brooklyn, Depeche Mode, Emerging Artists, Funk, funk n waffles, Hail to the Thief, Kalmia Trever, Kuma, Landing, Michael Jackson, Orchestra, Radiohead, Rose's Dream, Rubblebucket, Sophistafunk, Syracuse, The Bell House, There There, Thriller, Utica, World is Gonna Drown
The lounge and bar area of Brooklyn’s The Bell House had less people sitting on the stools and chilling on their couches Friday, August 7, than usual. Instead, most of the people were in the back venue listening to some extraordinary live jams while chowing on waffles (Funk ‘n’ Waffles that is).
By a quarter to midnight Syracuse’s own Sophistafunk had ended their high energy performance that included a guest horn section from Utica whose saxophonist was especially feeling the groove. They blew the audience away with her insane improvisations. After such a finale it was hard to see how anything could follow up such a tour de force. Yet based on this writer’s experience, Rubblebucket Orchestra (or Rubblebucket—as they seem to be calling themselves now) have developed reputation of always miraculously exceeding expectations as they did in this show.
The way they entered the stage at The Bell House was uncharacteristically low-key, as the nine-piece band simply walked on stage by midnight and put their instruments on. My encounter before, with Rubblebucket was much different. It was at Syracuse’s Funk n Waffles and the show started with lead band members Alex Toth and Kalmia Traver entering from the front door — with a confident swagger that personified cool as they blew into their respective instruments and banged on a bucket, heading toward the stage and jamming into their first number as if it were nothing. Continue reading
Filed under: Emerging Artists | Tags: Bikes, Brooklyn, Chicago, Emerging Artists, Orchestra, Rose's Dream, Rubblebucket, The Bell House
PREVIEW: Download Rubblebucket Orchestra’s “Bikes” MP3
Whatever rubblebuckets are, as long as they make awesome music they’re okay with us. Over a year after releasing their bopping debut Rose’s Dream and tireless touring all over the country in their van (affectionately named “Puppy”), Rubblebucket Orchestra are preparing to release their second album: Rubblebucket. To whet our appetites for the October 1st release, the band have given away their first single “Bikes.”
With singer/saxophonist Kalmia’s light-hearted “la-la-la’s,” the single begins like a careless stroll through the park when suddenly, in distinct Rubblebucket-fashion, the song quickly builds with the other eight pieces of the band entering into the funky mix. When the Chicago-esque horns in the song come in, they let you know that this band means business.
What soon follows are Kalmia’s hypnotic lyrics that fall in place with the latin-funk rhythms and the horn section melody that comes back in between lyrics. All in all, “Bikes” is just as enthralling as anything they have put out before.
Look out for them on their upcoming Northeast tour that’s starting at The Bell House in Brooklyn on August 7th!
— Charlie Weeks
Filed under: Emerging Artists, Features | Tags: a place to bury strangers, bear hands, Brooklyn, built to spill, coney island, Japandroids, live music, Micachu and The Shapes, siren festival, siren festival photos, Siren Music Festival, the Raveonettes, Tiny Masters of Today
Life doesn’t get much better than listening to free live music on a blazing hot summer’s day while chowing down on some cheap, sub-par hot dogs. To all those who don’t reside in the New York area or just couldn’t make it out to Coney Island on Saturday, let’s just say we’re very sorry you missed out.
Luckily for you, however, we’ve compiled a list of the best bands that graced the stages by the boardwalk this weekend. And when they play in your area, you better not miss them. Highlights of the day ran the gamut from fifteen-year-olds to the veteran ’90s indie-rockers that make up Built to Spill. Two types of shows permeated Siren this year: those driven by gimmicks and those driven by musicianship. The best acts melded the two strains together and struck a balance.
Tiny Masters of Today, made up of fifteen-year-old Ivan and his thirteen-year-old sister Ada (with an unnamed drummer), opened up the day for the audience at Siren.
There wasn’t much of a crowd yet when they started, but considering these kids are much younger than most readers of this blog and played at the same stage and on the same day as Built to Spill and Japandroids, they held their own remarkably well. Ada even went so far as to amicably explain that the “President” referenced in one of their songs was George W. Bush, not Barack Obama. With short song lengths and smatterings of political lyrics, it’s ironic that they played some of the purest punk rock of the day despite being born twenty years after the genre first surfaced.
Speaking of Japandroids, if there were any band at Siren with too much pent-up energy, it would be this duo. Playing garage rock like a coked-up, bastardized version of the White Stripes, Japandroids murdered their set, pulled it from the grave, and kicked it in the face like so many of the beach balls floating around the stage and crowd. Japandroids offered a warning before starting, with guitarist Brian King commenting on how much room he had to move around on the stage and how he felt like “the f**kin’ Stones” as a result.
Japandroids played one of the most dynamic, talented sets at Siren, and indeed, seemed to love doing it. When drummer David Prowse wiped his forehead with a towel after 20 minutes of nearly nonstop frenetic drumming, King chastised him for his weakness: “The f**kin’ towel? Really?”
Filed under: Editor Picks | Tags: Brooklyn, built to spill, coney island, Editor's Picks, free shows, frightened rabbit, Japandroids, live music, Micachu and The Shapes, music festivals, raveonnettes, siren festival, Tiny Masters of Today
As phenomenal as it is to see a bunch of awesome bands together, music festivals do have their drawbacks. There are crowds, for starters — huge, unpredictable, often inebriated masses, which will crowd you out from the front of the stage, crowd surf at totally inappropriate times, and elbow you in the face when you’re trying to take a photograph (…not that I speak from experience, or anything). There’s the food, which is always overpriced and almost always inedible, depending on how much you’ve had to drink. Then there’s the sweltering heat, the sunburn, the tall dude who had to stand RIGHT in front of you, the gaggle of 16-year-olds giggling at the rear.
But the biggest problem of all, by far, is choosing which bands to see when several sets occur at the same, or almost the same, times.
Coney Island’s Siren Festival is kind enough to stagger their sets. But in case you don’t want to sprint from stage to stage, or (God forbid) take a breather between the hours of 1:00 and 8:00, these are my personal Siren picks.
1:00 — Tiny Masters of Today [Main Stage]
Adolescent duo with serious industry cred splat out bratty punk anthems. Are they awesome because they’re barely in high school, or because the chorus on “K.I.D.S.” is so fun to jam out to? I’m not entirely sure, but David Bowie’s called their work “genius.”
2:00 — Micachu & The Shapes [Main Stage]
Unconventional and often inaccessible “pop,” played on customized or homemade instruments. One part garage, one part glitch, and several parts awesome.
3:00 — Japandroids [Main Stage]
Simple, straightforward, no frills garage rock that could have come straight from the 1990s. Something that sounds this fun on an album must be really incredible live.