I’ve managed to catch the Calgary post-punk band Preoccupations on three separate occasions. Twice now at the same venue (though the physical location has changed). Back in 2015, they swung by the Record Bar while running their victory lap as the buzzy new band Viet Cong. Back in May, they swung by The Firebird in St. Louis, right after they hit a bad streak with their van being stolen which housed all their equipment. A GoFundMe later, and they were playing with new equipment that they’d yet to become accustomed to.
People living in New York City, from time to time, need catharsis, a release. Some folks choose to yell at bicyclists, some assault hot dog vendors, some read from the Bible, out loud, on the subway. All these methods are stopgap, however. Simulacrums of the Real Thing. If one seeks true catharsis, one must look no further than a Mother Feather show.
Nothing puts you in the festive spirit (too early?) quite like torrential rain and train strikes. Tonight is the very last Golden Cabinet of the year and nothing short of Cthulhu, rising from his subterranean Lovecraftian lair and laying waste to West Yorkshire, is going to stop me from going. Earplugs, raincoat and monster slaying kit all packed and ready.
If the 1960s had The Zombies, famous now for releasing their masterpiece Odessey And Oracle before promptly splitting up, then similarly the 2010s could have had The Soundcarriers. Between 2009 and 2014 they released four astonishing albums before seemingly disappearing.
The Fernweh's debut album is an instant pleaser. It's a record soaked in nostalgia and indebted to many influences. essentially a modern day psychedelic folk-rock album in the mould of many of the classics of the genre from late 60's and early 70's.
Szun Waves are a three-piece comprising saxophone, drums and electronics/synths, it is a side project of sorts being that the members are all involved in other bands or collaborations. This years follow up to their 2016 debut LP has been a critical success and will doubtless be featured on plenty of the more interesting best of the year lists.
I like Thom Yorke’s solo stuff better than his work with Radiohead.* Leave now if you’d like.
I look to my right and see someone dressed as a cross between a pink poodle and Geri Halliwell, a blood-soaked surgeon and someone in one of those bird-like plague masks. A scary looking clown, a Nun, and Dracula himself. They’re all out tonight. Right in front of me, there’s a guy who looks remarkably like a young Nick Cave (although I think that’s just a coincidence). This, dear reader, is just the audience.
For the last 25 years or so, I’ve been pretty ignorant of the Duluth, MN band Low. Their brand of not-quite-shoegaze, affectionately dubbed “slowcore” by their fans, has never been my forte, but earlier this year the band released what will go down in the history books of 2018 as the possible album of the year with Double Negative.
When news of the union of Julien Baker, Phoebe Bridgers, and Lucy Dacus broke, along with an upcoming tour it was just a matter of where to go and catch them perform live. With no run through the southernmost states, it may not have seemed genius to fly from a perfectly sunny Florida winter day to Wisconsin and a mid-teens forecast. But not knowing whether this run of dates would get extended or not, you gotta pack up your meager winter wardrobe and get on the plane.
- Mark Moody
Bermondsey Social Club is a deceptively hard small venue to find, tucked away as it is in a dark alleyway of industrial arches you could easily walk by (which is what I did…), like getting invited to an underground warehouse party you need a secret password and good credentials for.
The last time Sam Beam (aka Iron & Wine) came through town, it was a solo show. That’s a bit of an underwhelming statement compared to the reality of it. At that show, Beam strode on stage with acoustic guitar to much applause, paused and asked: “What do you want to hear?” That was the format for the next ninety minutes and it was amazingly intimate and effective. Some kid in his dad’s lap yelled out for ‘Dead Man’s Will’ and left me with nothing to do but be awed. There was no buffer between Beam and his audience that night many years ago, and though he had a four-piece primarily acoustic band in tow this time, the wall between artist and fan remained very transparent.
- Mark Moody