National Site

DIY Bushwick Fest, day 2: Pearl + Beard, Eskalators, Aviation Orange + more

Eastern District: Amber Lamps (we are looking for a myspace link!!!)

The first stop of the night was the art gallery/performance space Eastern District, where the experimental sound collage and folk act Amber Lamps was performing. As it turns out, Amber Lamps is not a reference to the wildly popular “Epic Beard Man” fight video circulating on the Internet (if you don’t know what I’m talking about, search for “Epic Beard Man” and “amber lamps.”) The performance consisted of one guy (later joined by a girl for dual vocals), creating sounds to the accompaniment of several tape players scattered about the darkened gallery. The ambient, droning soundscapes were transfixing, and the surround sound provided by the pre-recorded tapes added an all-encompassing sense of dimension to the performance. A folksy melody of acoustic guitar and male/female vocals broke out towards the end of the 15-minute act (it was essentially one long “song”, or a musical performance piece), turning the somber atmosphere of the sound collage into a cathartic release. I had also hoped to catch the roving banjo and snare drum duo Free Advice at Eastern District, but they apparently cancelled, so off I was to Bushwick Music Studios.

Bushwick Music Studios: Pearl and the Beard

Pearl and the Beard were totally captivating, and a highlight of the night. A trio (two girls and a guy with a beard, all bespectacled), they perform an energetic and instrumentally minimal brand of folk-pop. All three harmonize, creating haunting, pitch-perfect melodies. The crowd was fully absorbed by their set, and when they broke out their amazing and amusing “Will Smith Medley” (you can see a video on their myspace), everyone in the audience exchanged a delighted “WTF?” look and nodded along in approval. Keep on eye out for this band, they’re definitely going places.


The next act was the 18-piece indie-pop-ska band Eskalators, who definitely did not all fit on the stage at Bushwick Music Studio. Almost every instrument in the world was accounted for, from the obvious rock band instruments to flute, violin, glockenspiel, and a musical saw. The high-energy performance really got the crowd moving, especially when main vocalist Eric Williams pushed himself into the crowd and offered up the mic to anyone willing to sing along. The songs were infectious, short, and fun, and they prompted Tito (owner of Bushwick Music Studio) to play some Operation Ivy over the sound system after the set.

Aviation Orange

Aviation Orange were up next, and they held the audience captive with their synth-driven indie pop. The songs manage to merge ambient guitar and synth layers with danceable rhythms and hook-laden male/female vocals. Highlights included “Radio” and “Darling Johnny,” and they were as tight as a band can be, having just finished a small tour, SXSW, and a DIY fest show the night before at Brooklyn Fireproof.

Binary Marketing Show

My last act to catch was Binary Marketing Show, at Don Pedro. I only caught two songs, as I was exhausted and drunk and had work the next day (I’m there right now, typing this on my lunch break.) The band was engaging, playing tribal and textured noise-pop in the vein of Animal Collective. There were synth stabs, vocal loops, and primal percussion, and I got the impression this band would be exhilarating at a weekend loft-rager (the small crowd at Don P’s was sitting in chairs). After a quick dose of Binary Marketing Show I headed home and found that “Will Smith Medley” video, and got to thinking that those late 90’s/early 2000’s Will Smith singles were, in retrospect, really fun. -Bill Dvorak


Two noisy new releases + shows: The Austerity Program + Extra Life

Some musicians take noise seriously, and many ears like that - young ones in particular. Three years after they released their debut full length, The Austerity Program (top pic) are back with not even twenty minutes of music - a four song EP (apparently they promised their label a triple CD!). These Astoria based, tense fellows blend super distorted metal riffs with noise rock dissonance for a truly explosive listening experience - that you can witness live (preferably with earplugs) at union Pool on May 2.
Brooklyn's Extra Life's sound also incorporates occasional metal riffs, but within a more complex and not always necessarily "expressionist" sound. The band's new material has alomst a gregorian element to it, with vocals that flirt with religious chants on top of truly bizzare and unheard of math metal/dissonant arrangements. Gee... i swear the actual music sounds much better than the description we just gave. The band is actually getting quite a lot of buzz - don't miss their CD release at Silant Barn on Saturday March 26.


Writing with Bloody Mary

This is not the video to watch right before bed, but Teith (pronounced Keith) create sounds like no body else.


Freezepop at Cafe 939 - 3/27 - Special PAX East show!


Freezepop will be performing a rare all ages show at Café 939 on Boylston Street in Boston this Saturday at 4:00. Even if you don’t immediately recognize the name, if you’ve been around any media in the last decade, chances are you’ve heard Freezepop. This Boston based electro-pop group has featured their music in television series (MTV’s The Hills and PBS’s Arthur, to name a few) and have contributed music to video games such as Rock Band, Guitar Hero and Dance Dance Revolution. The band has slowly been making their mark in the US and Europe through songs like “Frontload,” and “Less Talk More Rokk,” which took the #4 spot in iTunes top dance/electronica songs of 2007. Freezepop made their musical mark by blending pop song structures with electronica to create a sublimely dance-able sound that resonates with hipsters and rock aficionados as much as it does with dance crowd. Vintage DJ/VJ gear, phenomenal stage presence and Freezepop’s infectious electro-pop songs ensure this show is not to be missed.

--Meghan Guidry


NYC Artists on the Rise: Slow Six release CD + play Glasslands 03.27

Slow Six, a rotating cast of talented local musicians constantly pursuing solo and side projects (Nice Daughter, Redhooker and Wires Under Tension) has finally released a full-length follow-up to 2007’s “Nor’easter.” “Tomorrow Becomes You” is well worth the wait and is shaping up to be one of this year’s best releases. The group’s signature string-laden electroacoustic experimental rock sound maintains a captivating balance between electronic and organic elements. Although the number of musicians and instruments has been reduced since “Nor’easter,” the songs remain just as lush and detailed as before with the brilliantly constructed layers.  Listeners will fall in rapt attention initiated by the gradual, natural builds to escalating, harmonious interactions between instruments. These dialogues occur in a pliable, oscillating language that varies in intonation with each precise conscious aural decision. The quintet works so well together that the music on “Tomorrow Becomes You” moves as an animated, fluid being taking on new forms with every listen.
The record release show will be held at Glasslands with label mate and current Deli cover star Glass Ghost and the complementary Lymbyc Systym, who is also celebrating the release of “Shutter Release,” on Saturday, March 27. Tickets are $10. Don't miss this killer line-up! - Nancy Chow