On Sunday, Emerson College presented its first concert since the reopening of the Paramount Centre with an evening of sometimes-challenging but extraordinarily entertaining music by Father Murphy, Xiu Xiu and Deerhoof.
Experimental art-pop band Xiu Xiu are making another stop in Boston on their second tour of 2010, in support of their latest album, Dear God, I Hate Myself. This time they are accompanied by longtime friends Deerhoof, an experimental indie rock band from San Francisco. Xiu Xiu have changed quite a bit in the last year, losing several members and revamping their sound to be based more on keyboards and electronics and less on guitars. Current members Jamie Stewart and Angela Seo gave away, with special edition vinyl copies of the new album, t-shirts with “XIU XIU FOR LIFE’ written in the blood of Seo and Stewart themselves.The Muse got a chance to ask Stewart a few questions via email.
If you haven’t heard of the xx, please do yourself a favor and download their music now. The band, comprised of Romy Madley Croft (vocals/guitar), Oliver Sim (vocals/bass), and Jamie Smith (keyboards), could be easily classified as make-out music for hipsters, but such a simple description sells them short. As their debut album xx (2009, Young Turks) was recorded before all members reached their twenties, it does bleed the navel-gazing, deeply romantic aspects of late adolescent relationships, but it also acts as a pitch perfect nighttime misty city soundtrack. (Go ahead, walk around listening to it on your earbuds at night and see what I mean).
James Murphy and LCD Soundsystem played a sold out show to 2,700 of their closest friends at The Orpheum Theatre on Tuesday night.
From July 16 to 18 in Chicago’s Grant Park, Pitchfork held its fifth annual music festival, featuring some of its biggest names yet, including Pavement, Modest Mouse, LCD Soundsystem, and Big Boi, and the turnout was incredible. Several extra batches of tickets were released the day before the festival began, and weather forecasts including both sweltering heat for Friday and Saturday and a downpour predicted for Sunday suggested that the festival might be pushed to its limits. However, the festival organizers frequently gave out water to the most dehydrated concert-goers and chopped prices of bottled water in the park, and the local food offered ran the gamut from vegan to meaty, sweet to salty, so everyone stayed nourished and fully able to enjoy the massive array of diverse performances put on that weekend.
On Sep. 23, Saratoga Springs-based electronic duo Phantogram hit the Paradise with an addition to the usual duo of Sarah Barthel and Josh Carter a drummer. But first, Railbird, another band from Saratoga Springs, charmed the crowd with their vaguely folky art-pop and minced time signatures like no band I’ve ever heard. Their two drummers gave their sound a huge boost, and Sarah Pedinotti’s jazzy croon floated over the rhythmic maelstrom, easily shifting tempos with the other musicians, creating a sound somewhat like if Kate Bush fronted The Fiery Furnaces and made them tone down their hyperactive song structures.
I should start out by saying that Tobacco, the band I went to see on Saturday night, are excellent performers and put on a hypnotic, impressive, and memorable show, because after my review of the opening band, I’m going to seem like a sour puss. Few things are more frustrating for a music lover than a miserable opening band, because it makes the wait for the good band that much more painful and long. Junk Culture, project of Oxford, MS native Deepak Mantena is a primarily sample-based music (“cosmic R&’B” according to his MySpace), of which I am generally in favor.
Being a communications major and self-proclaimed writer since I mastered the grip on my pencil, there are seldom times I find myself at a loss for words. At the risk of sounding cliché, this past Saturday night left me speechless, unable to articulate the overwhelming joy that washed over me being one of the few (well…almost 3,000) lucky individuals spending their “evening with CAKE,” as John McCrea so eloquently put it. And it was just that: a full evening with CAKE in which McCrea, who unlike this writer was at no loss for words, and his fellow band-mates made the audience feel like more than the usual third-party onlookers: we were elemental in this “evening.”
There’s nothing quite like watching a band becoming comfortable with the strength of their own songs, more willing to experiment and throw curveballs to the audience. While Dirty Projectors released Bitte Orca, packed with their most accessible material to date, they still opened their set at the Wilbur Theatre last Monday with “F—ed for Life,” a cut from the odds-and-ends New Attitude EP, rewritten to incorporate the voices of Amber Coffman, Angel Deradoorian and Haley Dekle instead of the crunchy abrasive electronics of the original.
Three weeks after the Paradise Rock Club reopened following its summer hiatus, Blue Scholars performed on its freshly erected stage. The duo, DJ Sabzi and MC Geologic, brought their brand of West Cost beats, along with their West Coast-style fans, for a night of astute and introspective hip-hop.