Posts Tagged ‘Ladybug Transistor’

Wednesday, May 23rd, 2012


NYC Popfest with Allo Darlin’, The Ladybug Transistor, The Wave Pictures, and White Town at Littlefield in Brooklyn

Photo By Frank YangFrank YangNYC Popfest is wonderful for many reasons, not least of which is a built-in excuse to jet off to New York for the May long weekend. I did so back in 2009 when The Radio Dept. as headliners were enough to get me out to two nights, and while I was already planning on being in town this year regardless, the opportunity to see Allo Darlin’ – who were skipping Toronto on their tour in support of Europe after visiting last year – close the festival out was to be happily accepted.

The Sunday itinerary was a marathon of sorts, starting mid-afternoon and running into the night. I had other stuff to do that day so I only made it to Littlefield in time for the last four acts, starting with White Town. If that name sounds familiar, it’s because England’s Jyoti Mishra has had more worldwide hits than pretty much everyone else on the Popfest lineup – which is to say, one. “Your Woman” was a smash way back in 1997 and while to most White Town is the epitome of one-hit wonder, it was nice to see Mishra happily still making music and releasing records, his flukey brush with success achieved on his own terms. A funny and genial fellow, he performed solo and acoustic overtop pre-recorded backing tracks and proved to have equal facility with twee strummy pop and more electronic-based compositions and you know what? “Your Woman”? Solid tune.

I feel a bit ashamed that I hadn’t ever heard Leicstershire’s Wave Pictures before this evening, despite them having released double digits of albums – the latest being Long Black Cars, collaborated with the likes of Hefner and The Mountain Goats, and were touring with Allo Darlin’ for the past month. But better late than never, yeah? They came with all the hallmarks of good British indie-pop – clever lyrics, sharp melodies – but distinguished themselves with a few forays into crooning ballads and David Tattersall’s serious guitar chops. This isn’t a style of music that you’ll often hear guitarists step up and tear off an extended solo, but Tattersall’s leads were really stylish and interesting, and not just to other guitarists (I would hope). Excellent stuff, and I’ll be dipping my toe into their extensive discography soon enough.

Watching The Ladybug Transistor, I had a sudden sense of deja vu, and that’s because I saw them right here in New York – okay, Manhattan – on a whim back in 2009 at The Cake Shop. Since that show, they’d released a new album in Clutching Stems and though I haven’t heard it – I’ve only a very passing familiarity with their stuff – it was a good set, with their American-ness very much contrasting with the other acts’ British-ness, though not quite in the way you might expect. Their style of pop was very ornate and sophisticated while the other acts’ rawer, C86-ish roots was still evident. They closed their set with a dedication to Robin Gibb, who’d passed away earlier in the day, and in the process were the bearers of bad news to some fans who’d been sequestered away in this corner of Brooklyn all day. Alas.

Every time I’ve written up one of Allo Darlin’s records, the gist of it has been how despite their being an indie pop band, the strength of their songwriting comes from a wistful, melancholic streak. Which is all well and good, but fails to point out that the reason they still qualify as an indie pop band is because they’re a damn good indie-pop band live, what with the big, bouncy, hand clappy pop moves. Their set largely stuck to the uptempo notes of their two records – “Capricornia” and “The Polaroid Song” being highlights, as was Elizabeth Morris trading her ukulele for a Fender Mustang for a few songs of added rock power – and certainly made my night by playing both sides of last year’s “Darren” 7″, including their cover of The French’s “Wu Tang Clan” which I thought would have gotten more of a response from the New York audience, but maybe the Popfest crowd just isn’t down with the Wu. They did slow it down to open the encore with Morris playing the lovely “Tallulah” solo, but closed out on the highest of high notes with members of Wave Pictures and Ladybug Transistor’s Gary Olson subbing in for Monster Bobby on “Dreaming”.

The Hartford Courant interviews Allo Darlin’ and The Daily Reville checks in with Wave Pictures.

Photos: Allo Darlin’, The Ladybug Transistor, The Wave Pictures, White Town @ Littlefield – May 21, 2012
MP3: Allo Darlin’ – “My Heart Is A Drummer”
MP3: Allo Darlin’ – “Dreaming”
MP3: The Ladybug Transistor – “Clutching Stems”
MP3: The Ladybug Transistor – “Breaking Up On The Beat”
MP3: The Ladybug Transistor – “Splendor In The Grass”
MP3: The Ladybug Transistor – “The Reclusive Hero”
MP3: The Ladybug Transistor – “A Burial At Sea”
MP3: The Wave Pictures – “People In My Sleep”
MP3: The Wave Pictures – “Front From The Front”
MP3: The Wave Pictures – “Notes For A Book On Buster Keaton”
MP3: The Wave Pictures – “I Saw Your Hair Between The Trees”
MP3: The Wave Pictures – “Make Me A Pallet On Your Floor”
MP3: The Wave Pictures – “I’m So Lonesome I Could Cry”
MP3: The Wave Pictures – “Long Island”
MP3: The Wave Pictures – “We Sugared Our Apples”
MP3: The Wave Pictures – “Chinese Takeaway”
MP3: The Wave Pictures – “Leave The Scene Behind”
Video: Allo Darlin’ – “Capricornia”
Video: Allo Darlin’ – “Tallulah”
Video: Allo Darlin’ – “My Heart Is A Drummer”
Video: Allo Darlin’ – “If Loneliness Was Art”
Video: Allo Darlin’ – “Dreaming”
Video: Allo Darlin’ – “The Polaroid Song”
Video: The Ladybug Transistor – “Always On The Telephone”
Video: The Wave Pictures – “Spaghetti”
Video: The Wave Pictures – “Eskimo Kiss”
Video: The Wave Pictures – “If You Leave It Alone”
Video: The Wave Pictures – “Blue Harbour”
Video: The Wave Pictures – “Little Surprise”
Video: The Wave Pictures – “Sweetheart”
Video: The Wave Pictures – “I Love You Like A Madman”
Video: The Wave Pictures – “Just Like A Drummer”
Video: The Wave Pictures – “Strange Fruit For David”
Video: White Town – “Invisible Elastic”
Video: White Town – “Missing Her Again”
Video: White Town – “She’s A Lot Like You”
Video: White Town – “Cut Out My Heart”
Video: White Town – “Make The World Go Away”
Video: White Town – “Undressed”
Video: White Town – “Your Woman”

Belfast post-rock maniacs And So I Watch You From Afar will be at The Horseshoe on July 14, tickets $10.50 in advance.

MP3: And So I Watch You From Afar – “The Voiceless”

How do we know The xx have a new record in the can? They’ve announced an intimate North American tour that brings them to The Phoenix on July 28, tickets $30, on sale Friday. It counts as intimate because they could easily play a room three times that size; I mean really, they already have.

MP3: The xx – “Basic Space”

DIY has an interview with Saint Etienne, whose new album Words & Music By Saint Etienne is streaming in whole at NPR ahead of its release next week.

Stream: Saint Etienne / Words & Music By Saint Etienne

Interview talks to Dev Hynes of Blood Orange about his history with Florence Welch of Florence & The Machine.

Prefix talks to Hannah Thurlow of 2:54 about their plans to conquer North America with their self-titled debut, out May 29 release. They play Lee’s Palace on June 15 as part of NXNE.

Hot Chip have released a new video from the forthcoming In Our Heads, out June 12. They’re at The Sound Academy on July 15.

Video: Hot Chip – “Night & Day”

J Spaceman of Spiritualized details a life of musical influences for Pitchfork.

Tuesday, September 8th, 2009

NY-San Anton

Cinema Red & Blue and The Ladybug Transistor at The Cake Shop in New York

Photo By Frank YangFrank YangJust to be clear: I had absolutely no intention of going to any shows this past weekend whilst in New York City. Yes, I checked to see what was playing over the long weekend and certainly would have hit something up if it were appealing, but taking a break from standing around in Toronto clubs till the wee hours of the morning by standing around in New York clubs till the wee hours of the morning is not my idea of a vacation. However, a chat with Soundbites on Saturday afternoon and the lack of anything more interesting to do on Saturday night found me – wait for it – standing around in a Lower East Side club till the wee hours of the morning.

The club was The Cake Shop, a venue I’d heard tale of for years but had not set foot in – and which like other fabled NYC clubs of which I’ve recently made the acquaintance of, was much smaller, darker and sweatier than I’d imagined. But they did indeed sell cake. So there’s that. The bill was four deep, the first half of which I missed, but I did arrive in time to see The Ladybug Transistor – a band not all that familiar to me but who came with a pedigree containing the keywords Elephant 6 (a scene with whom they were originally associated), Merge (the label to which they’re signed) and The Essex Green (the band with which they’ve shared many a member). And so while not being familiar with their material, per se, that was more than enough to make me confident that I’d enjoy what they had to offer and indeed I did – sharp, singalong-worthy and handclap-happy retro-styled indie-pop will never go out of style. With a big, lush sound that seemed a bit at odds with the decidedly non-lush environs, The Ladybug Transistor’s set certainly made for a better evening than watching basic cable back at the apartment where I was staying, which probably would have been the evening’s fallback activity.

The night’s headliner was an outfit called Cinema Red & Blue, an offshoot of UK indie cult heroes The Comet Gain involving members of The Ladybug Transistor – for any more detail than that, I refer you to this preview piece at BrooklynVegan. I think I’d heard Comet Gain before and recall being generally unimpressed with their shambolic aesthetic, so it was probably too much to hope that a one-off gig from an under-rehearsed and probably drunk side-project would offer much in the revelation department. And no, it really didn’t. A late start due to a malfunctioning keyboard (always a good idea to wait until show time to discover that the power cord doesn’t work) pretty much set the tone and by the time they got started, they were as sloppy and wobbly as you’d expect. But while that wasn’t my thing, it seemed to be precisely what the fans in attendance wanted and so they all seemed pretty pleased. I stuck around for a little while and quietly excused myself. Sleep beckoned.

Photos: Cinema Red & Blue, The Ladybug Transistor @ The Cake Shop, New York – September 5, 2009
MP3: The Ladybug Transistor – “Three Days From Now”
MP3: The Ladybug Transistor – “Splendor In The Grass”
MP3: The Ladybug Transistor – “The Reclusive Hero”
MP3: The Ladybug Transistor – “A Burial At Sea”
MySpace: The Ladybug Transistor

As for the rest of the trip, it was intended to be a little bit shopping excursion, a little bit get the hell out of Toronto and it was a success on both counts. Some clothes and probably unnecessary photo gear to the former, some exploration of Brooklyn, culture at the MoMA and AMNH, excellent eating and hanging out with friends made it a great long weekend and a small but necessary act of salvaging a tiny bit of the Summer. Some photos are up at Flickr if you’re curious.

Apologies to anyone who stopped by Sunday to check out this week’s G’N’R cover only to find, instead of twee-ified Axel, a googly-eyed cat – in my rush to get posts written up and queued for my absence, I forgot to upload the MP3 file. So it’s live now and as a bit of mea culpa, also help yourself to this radio session version of Luna doing the same tune. Also check out the Taken By Trees features at Paste and The Guardian and stream the new album East Of Eden – out today – at Drowned In Sound.

MP3: Taken By Trees – “Sweet Child O’ Mine”
MP3: Luna – “Sweet Child O’ Mine” (live)
Stream: Taken By Trees / East Of Eden

Anyone faced with a Joe Pernice-or-The Antlers dilemma for the evening of September 24, rejoice – The Antlers will be playing an in-store at Criminal Records that evening, time TBA. So you – and by “you” I mean “I” – can hit up the in-store first then trek over to the Dakota later that night to see Joe. Unless you had tickets for the Antlers’ show at the Horseshoe that night, in which case you’re on your own with a double-serving of Antlers. There’s a video session with them at LiveDaily while Pernice talks to Spinner about his new record.

Suckers have been added as support for the just-announced White Rabbits gig at the Drake on October 24. I’ve heard almost as many good things about them as I have the headliners – which is a considerable amount – so that gig is probably one not to miss. Check out an MP3 and video and also their Daytrotter session from earlier this Summer.

MP3: Suckers – “It Gets Your Body Movin'”
Video: Suckers – “Easy Chairs”

Former 13th Floor Elevators frontman and general psych-rock legend Roky Erickson has set a rare live date at Lee’s Palace in Toronto for October 28 – tickets $29.50. There’s an interview with Erickson at The Quietus.

Video: The 13th Floor Elevators – “You’re Gonna Miss Me”

The Swell Season, who continue on despite the end of Glenn Hansard and Marketa Irglova’s real-life romance, will release their second album Strict Joy on October 27 and follow it up with a Fall tour that includes a date at Massey Hall in Toronto on November 3 – tickets $29.50 to $42.50. Check out a new song from the record courtesy of Spinner and also a few more at a Tiny Desk Concert recorded for NPR.

MP3: The Swell Season – “In These Arms”

If you were wondering if/when The Wooden Sky would play a proper hometown gig rather than rooftop soirees or subterranean in-stores, wonder no longer – they’ll present their excellent new record If I Don’t Come Home You’ll Know I’m Gone on a proper stage on November 13 at Lee’s Palace. Tickets $12.

MP3: The Wooden Sky – “Something Hiding For Us In The Night”

And if you’ve been wondering – as I have – what TV is worth downloading this Fall, it’s The AV Club to the rescue. They’ve listed off all the shows they’re going to be covering as the traditional new television season kicks off in the coming weeks, and not a moment too soon. With Weeds over last week and True Blood done this Sunday, I needs new stuff to watch. Though a closer look at their picks shows that our tastes align a little too closely – most of them I already watch or have decided not to watch. Will be following Glee and Bored To Death – anyone have any other suggestions that don’t require catching up on four or five past seasons worth of eps?