Lower Dens' Jana Hunter Makes an Escape Worth Celebrating

Photo by Frank Hamilton
Jana Hunter of Lower Dens
Jana Hunter finally decided to release the small anxieties so she may truly fill the stage.

Hunter, leader of Baltimore-based post-rock band Lower Dens, made a conscious effort to untangle her neck muscles and embrace a new definition of performer. This change is evident on the group's third full-length, Escape From Evil, out on Ribbon Music. Her raw, bold candor investigates less savory human urges and insecurities through a thick fog of upbeat synth. Escape keeps a quicker pace than the past two records. It's more warm, laid bare — and Hunter's lyrics seep out glittering but neatly contained in a clear cadence.

"I feel a lot more comfortable with myself as a performer than I used to," Hunter explains. "So I settled in to performing...That's the ultimate test of your ability as a performer: being onstage and being able to connect with the music, but not be overly self-conscious or self-aware. To be uninhibited. I don't think you're really giving much to people if you're just worried about how you look or you're presenting."

More »

The Iron Sheik Is Ready to Roast Everyone's Nuts

He will break your neck, make you humble.
No one can dish it out quite like the Iron Sheik. And, even though he's no longer in the ring, he's still smacking people down. The legendary Iron Sheik is more into giving a complete and total verbal lashing these days, and on October 30th, he'll be stepping into a different ring but still promises to deliver the ultimate beat down when he hosts "Roast Rumble: The Ultimate Insult Fest" at Carolines on Broadway. With your chance to see the legend in the flesh coming up, we got the details on what to expect from the event and then got him to roast a few people as well because, hey, it's only right. Right?

See also: Lana Del Rey Fandom Is Exactly the Same as Pro Wrestling Fandom

More »

Free Download: "My Little Match" by Dreamers

Courtesy of Golightly Media // Credit: Kirstin Roby
Grunge-y Brooklynites Dreamers have an album titled This Album Does Not Exist due later this fall and a hefty history of being an opening act for some killer bands. This upcoming Monday, September 8, Dreamers will be playing the latest free w/ RSVP 'School Night' show at Brooklyn Bowl alongside Mainland, Hi Ho Silver Ho, and Jake B (DJ Set). RSVP here.

Prior to this show, we are happy to give away free downloads of their catchy single "My Little Match," available after the jump.

More »

Chad VanGaalen Makes Snow Piss Drawings and So Much More

Photo by Bryan Webb

Psych-folk artist Chad VanGaalen is quite content to spend days in his Calgary home fiddling with Frankenstein instruments he crafted himself. After a crushingly long winter, he finally emerges to tour in support of his fifth full-length, the wildly warped Shrink Dust.

He's a man who knows how to inject serious productivity into those miserable brumal months that take most of the Canadian year. You know, obvious stuff like recording morphological pop music, employing his young daughters as voice actors in a three-part sci-fi film he is writing and illustrating. Making art in the snow with his own urine and hiding treasures beneath a backyard canoe.

He's at Bell House tonight, May 15th, so we caught up with him about what else he's been up to.

More »

Weezer's Top Five Most Iconic Videos

YouTube screengrab
Weezer hosts a party at the Playboy Mansion in the clip for "Beverly Hills"
We know Sunday is a day for lounging around in your borough of choice and taking things easy, but this week, you should probably consider exiting city limits and heading over to Huntington to catch Weezer at the Paramount. After the band's 21-year career, it's easy to take the L.A. quartet for granted; to put them in the old faithful pile and merely think of them... fondly. It's easy to forget just how influential and important Weezer have been.

So then, to get you all revved up just in time for the weekend, and as a sharp reminder of just how rad this band is, here's a look back on Weezer's five most iconic videos.

See also: Live: Weezer And The Flaming Lips Share And Share Alike At The PNC Arts Center

More »

The Ten Best Concerts in New York This Week, 1/21/13

Here are the 10 best shows around the city this week, in no particular order.

More »

Blues Control Explain Why They Had To Move Out of NYC To Create Their Latest Album Valley Tangents

Categories: Upcoming Shows

Five years ago, a weekend in the NYC area wasn't complete without taking in a set by Blues Control. It seemed the Brooklyn duo of Russ Waterhouse and Lea Cho could always be found blaring out their deconstructed riff rock in some trust funders' basement in Ridgewood or a record store in Williamsburg.

Nowadays, Waterhouse and Cho live out in the wooded wilds of the Lehigh Valley in Pennsylvania where they choose to stay in, cook meals and listen to records like sensible older people should. While chillaxing out there they also wrote their fourth full length Valley Tangents, which was released by Drag City earlier this year. Much like their bearded predecessors, Blues Control staggered upon a spacious and comforting sound in their secluded confines. Gone were the chunky riffs and bombastic rhythms; in came the liquid leads and tranquil electronic beats and bleats. Squint your ears just the right way and you could line up Valley Tangents with any one of your favorite 'We're getting it together in the country' rock records from the early 70's.

More »

This Week's Five Best Concerts: Pistol Annies, Thrill Jockey, Austra, And More

If you're thumbing through the print edition (God bless your soul), it's hard to miss the three pages of recommended events that open the issue. Because the internet makes those a little less obvious, here are our five picks for concerts this week.

Tomorrow, the Pistol Annies come to Midtown's Terminal 5, a long way from Brooklyn but closer than Long Island or New Jersey. Nick Murray writes:

As a solo artist, it took Texas native Miranda Lambert less than a decade to go from second runner-up on a country-themed Idol to the genre's queen bee, winning CMA album of the year for her 2009 return-to-form Revolution. Lately, however, her best music has been coming from retro-oriented supergroup Pistol Annies, which includes both Nashville journeywoman Ashley Monroe and songwriter Angaleena Presley, the pen behind recent hits including Ashton Shepherd's "Look It Up" and Lambert's own "Fastest Girl in Town." Tonight, the trio brings tunes like the self-explanatory "Hell on Heels" and "Bad Example" to Terminal 5, setting a bad example that all New Yorkers would do best to follow.

More »

SOTC Premiere: It Is Happening Again: A Texas Is The Reason Microfilm (Plus A Q&A With Norman Brannon)

Texas is the Reason were and, recently, are a band. They formed in 1994 and released one self-titled EP and one full-length, Do You Know Who You Are?, on which they exemplified a kind of emo that was both anxious and circling—small, contained universes of songs that somehow managed to seem open and unresolved. Some of this quality can be traced to the playing of guitarist Norman Brannon, drifting and changeable chords that also acquire pattern. It's a resonant effect, as hard to pin down properly as the band's accumulated popularity from its only two releases. Texas is the Reason disbanded in 1997, reunited briefly for two shows at Irving Plaza in 2006, and have this year reunited for Revelation Records' 20th-anniversary shows. They play Irving Plaza on October 11, and in It Is Happening Again: A Texas Is The Reason Microfilm, which premieres below, announce a show at the Music Hall of Williamsburg on October 10. SOTC interviewed Brannon about the reunion, the nature of genre-based scenes, and the band's still-growing audience.

More »

Down On The Farm: Todd P Sets Up Shop At The Vander Ende-Onderdonk House

via Greater Ridgewood Historical Society
Bushwick delis, Chinese buffets, Mexican restaurants, Masonic temples, beaches, churches, and now an 18th-century Dutch colonial farm; New York DIY mastermind Todd Patrick has proven, yet again, that when booking an all-ages show, selecting a venue is part of the artistry. This evening at the Vander Ende-Onderdonk House on the Queens/Brooklyn border, legendary independent musicians Daniel Higgs of Lungfish and Tim Harrington of Les Savy Fav will perform at an outdoor show that has the makings of history lesson.

"The first gifts I received in New York were two books. One was Gotham, which traces New York from pre-history to the 1900s, and the other was a survey of all the historical sites in the city," Patrick says. "I came to find that there were all these old historical farmhouses hidden throughout the city."

The Vander Ende-Onderdonk House, the oldest Dutch colonial stone home in New York City, is located near the industrial zoo surrounding the Jefferson Street stop on the L train. It was originally built in the mid-1600s; another home was built on its foundation in 1709, and that structure still exists today. Over the past three centuries, the land has been used in many different ways, including as a base for a scrap glass business and as the border between the two boroughs now known as Brooklyn and Queens.

But why throw a show here?

More »