Hot on the Heels of Coachella, Cloud Nothings Will Perform Free Show in Brooklyn

Photo by Pooneh Ghana
Cloud Nothings
Dylan Baldi, the leader of Cleveland's Cloud Nothings, is the kind of man who keeps a promise. When asked to name some bands that deserve a listen, he'll pause and fully consider the tired question. Batting away any impulsive recommendations, he opts instead to respond another time, when he can answer more appropriately.

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Scotland's Young Fathers Want to Make Pop Music 'to Destroy It'

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Young Fathers
"Here's another ticket..."

Whispered and reverberating as if they were recorded inside a snare drum, three unassuming words invite you in to Young Fathers' second studio album, White Men Are Black Men Too. There's no subtle meaning or potential metaphor associated with this particular phrase. Its sole purpose is to begin the twelve-song journey through racial discourse, late-twenties self-reflection, and liberated shame, all while being shepherded by some of today's strongest and most melodious pop music.

A year ago this month, the trio from Edinburgh, Scotland (featuring Kayus Bankole, Graham "G" Hastings, and Alloysious Massaquoi) made their New York debut at the Bowery Ballroom in support of Dead, their record that would go on to be awarded the prestigious Mercury Prize (think the Grammys, but with value and British), beating out FKA twigs and Damon Albarn. Throughout 2014 they toured our country, driving state by state, gobbling up radio reception, and absorbing influences spanning Top 40 hits to Mexican soul.

"The idea of the album came up in America," acknowledges Hastings. "You have some great radio stations here that are quite alien to us, coming from Britain."

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The Men Ready New Album

Photograph by Carrie Schechter
The Brooklyn rock band The Men have a new album -- but they're not ready to discuss details just yet. "I don't want to talk too much about that, because we still have two records out," says Ben Greenberg, the band's bassist, laughing gently.

The Men emerged on the radar of independent music fans in 2011, with their album Leave Home, a furious hurricane of thrashing guitar that jump-started conversations about the return of muscular rock n' roll. But resting within all that noise, was a firm sense of direction, the idea, always, that the band knew what they were doing and how they were going to go about doing it. The Men were and are fiercely collective, a fact which accounts for the unity of their sound, and also explains their discipline in all other facets of industry life.

See also: The Men Get Out of the Gutter

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Meet 4AD's Indians, Denmark's Bon Iver

I first came across Indians entirely by accident courtesy of a CMJ schedule screw-up. On the first night of the annual music marathon back in October, I had been bouncing from the Rockwood Music Hall to Pianos to Cake Shop when the list of bands I had hastily scrawled in a notebook led me to the Living Room on Ludlow for a cozy show with an Irish rock outfit I'd never heard of. I hightailed it to the venue and elbowed my way into the back room, only to look up and see that there was a man onstage accompanied by nothing more than his keyboard and a guitar--which hardly fit the physical description for the five-piece band of Dubliners I was expecting.

Indians, on tour with Other Lives, play the Bowery Ballroom tonight and at Music Hall of Williamsburg tomorrow.

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4AD, Indians

Get Heavy With Melvins Lite Tonight At Music Hall of Williamsburg


The Melvins currently find themselves road doggin' it across these United States at a record pace. For real. They're playing 51 shows in 51 nights (I did the math--that's a show a day ... for 51 days) beginning in Alaska earlier this month and finishing up in Hawaii in a few weeks. The Globe-Trotting Men of Metal plop down in the city tonight at Music Hall of Williamsburg, and in the print edition of the paper (Village Voice) this week the rambunctious and imminently quotable Buzz Osborne says the current exhaustive stunt they're embarking on fits right in with the band's motto: "Seldom right; never in doubt." Read the feature here, and go watch history in the making tonight.

See Also:
- Slideshow: The Melvins Get Their "Freak Puke" On At Webster Hall
- "GRUNGE" THIS - The Melvins Live On

Tangentially Related:

- Melvin Peebles Gets a BAADASSSSS Review from the Voice

Not At All Related:

- KitchenAid Insults Obama's Dead Grandmother On Twitter, Apologizes

Live: Why Do Japandroids Keep Romanticizing Youth In Venues That Don't Allow Young People?

Music Hall of Williamsburg
Thursday, June 28

Better than: Getting rejected at the door.

Entering a borough known for its hostility—"Brooklyn has a bad rep in the rest of the continent," frontman Brian King explained, then crossed his arms over his guitar as he continued, "You're known for the kind of crowd that stands like this"—Japandroids started not slow, exactly, but restrained. After opening with Post-Nothing side one/track one "The Boys are Leaving Town," King addressed the crowd again, admitting that it takes a room one song to warm up. Still, Brooklyn demanded another, and after he and drummer David Prowse finished "Adrenaline Nightshift," he offered something to the effect of "OK, this is the song that really kicks things up a notch." You'll have to excuse my paraphase, because as the chords that begin "Younger Us" rang out, and I ditched the transcription, stuffed my notebook into my pants, and pushed my way to the front of the venue. Sorry.

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Live: Fred Armisen And Carrie Brownstein Turn The Music Hall Of Williamsburg Into Brooklandia

Portlandia: The Tour
Music Hall of Williamsburg
Friday, January 20

Better than: Watching television (but who has one anyway?).

In the middle of a nearly two-hour set of live sketches, improv riffing, and unseen clips, Fred Armisen and Carrie Brownstein, the stars of IFC's Portlandia, strapped on guitars and played the song that served as the show's much-emailed teaser. "Do you remember when people were content to be unambitious, sleep 'til 11 and hang out with their friends? And they had no occupations whatsoever?" Fred asks. "When people were singing about saving the planet, forming bands?... When they encouraged you to be weird?" That dream, the dream of '90s, he explains to Carrie, is alive in Portland.

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Live: Torche And Friends Dominate At Music Hall Of Williamsburg


Torche w/ Big Business, Helms Alee
Music Hall of Williamsburg
Wednesday, July 20

Better than: I would say any other metal show, but apparently there were a few other good ones.

Last afternoon, with the e-mercury that I assume powers our digital thermometers refusing to recede, the Torche/Big Business/Helms Alee triple-header that would be closing my day and marking roughly the halfway point in my ongoing heatwave promised to be a big, sweaty mess. Torche's music is sometimes called "thunder pop"; maybe they'd play a show humid enough to generate some extreme weather patterns right in front of the stage.

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The Grits & Biscuits Party (And All Its Sweat) Moves Out To Williamsburg

Robert E. Holley
When asked if he had already picked out his set prior to the March installment of his Grits & Biscuits party at Southpaw, DJ Square Biz--a.k.a. Maurice Slade--feigned incredulity. It was 10:15 p.m. Young women in heels trickled onto the dance floor, bobbing their heads and two-stepping with vodka drinks. Twenty-five with a full beard and wearing a retro Houston Rockets cap, Slade scanned the small crowd. His wide smile made him appear both amused and disturbed by the question. "Man, I hate when DJs be doing that," he drawled, stepping back from his equipment as if he was about to deliver a sermon. The most fun parties, he said, are spontaneous, devoid of any master plan (although he does have suggestions for first-time attendees).

Grits started as the brainchild of Maurice Slade and his brother Alzo, along with business partner/friend Erika Lewis; collectively the trio is known as E.Z.Mo Breezy. Southern crunk music has never been shy about its ass-shaking imperative and neither have they. "We're all, I think, trying to change the world," Alzo Slade said of the people that come to Grits. "But there ain't nothing wrong with shaking your ass at the same time."

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Q&A: The Dears' Frontman Murray Lightburn on Louis C.K., Fatherhood, Moonshine

He just turned 40, but the Dears' frontman Murray Lightburn isn't planning on hanging up the microphone any time soon. In fact, after a U.S. label change (from Arts & Crafts to Dangerbird Records) and some line-up tinkering that saw bassist Roberto Arquilla and guitar players Patrick Krief and Rob Benvie leave the band at various times only to return in 2008, Lightburn says that the Montreal orchestral pop rock band, whose 2003 release No Cities Left earned it the title of "probably the best new band in the world" from NME, feels like it's been born again. After the release of this past February's Degeneration Street, the band's fifth studio album, the Dears took off on a whirlwind tour of the West Coast before wrapping up at South by Southwest in Austin with six shows in three days.

The Voice checked in with Lightburn before the Dears head back out to the Atlantic coast, including tonight's stop at Music Hall of Williamsburg. The husband, father, and preacher's son schooled us on cheese-making, Louis C.K., and the art of aging gracefully.

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