Archive for May, 2012

Ski Lodge in May

Ski Lodge – The Rock Shop, May 24th

I ducked into The Rock Shop last week for just long enough to check out a compact, 30-minute set from Ski Lodge, a band that arrived at its name mostly based on “how it looked and sounded” and for its double-duty as a metaphor, says singer/lead guitarist Andrew Marr in an interview with The Deli.  “It’s like an emotional place to escape to.”

Ski Lodge (photo Dominick Mastrangelo)

Primarily the project of Marr (previously of The Clementines) recorded, Ski Lodge expands to four on stage and boasts a fun, upbeat show full (what else?) of jangly guitars and retro swagger. Marr’s choice of what to bring with him to listen to on a desert island (“maybe The Smiths – The Queen Is Dead, Beach House – Teen Dream, The Walkmen – Lisbon“) reveals a lot about his sound.

Here’s “Chandeliers”

And “A Game”

You can stream (then buy) the s/t EP here.

Pop Fest and the Return of Saturday Looks Good to Me (with New Songs!)

Saturday Looks Good to Me + Wild Moccasins + Cola Jet Set – May 18th – The Knitting Factory

Last Friday I caught some super fun acts during the second night of Pop Fest. After listening to Orca Team all week, I was bummed to miss them. (They were apparently ahead of schedule at the Knitting Factory – what?) But I did see almost all of Cola Jet Set.

Cola Jet Set (photo courtesy of artist)

Hailing from Barcelona, Cola Jet Set predominantly make music in their home tongue, but I don’t have to dip into my high school Spanish much to know that their songs are infectious and upbeat. According to the group’s website: “their mix of surf, disco, punk, bubblegum and a lot of pop meld into an explosive cocktail that makes this disc more commonly prescribed than Aspirin” and though this is clearly the work of publicists, I have to say it’s a fantastic line and an apt descriptor of their sound.

Hear a couple of songs from Cola Jet Set:

But of course the big moment of the evening was the return of Saturday Looks Good to Me. I’ve listened to the band a lot over the years, but due to their retirement in 2008, I never had a chance to see them play until last week.

an old Saturday Looks Good to Me photo – they’re not that grumpy! (Doug Coombe)

Though they are clearly pros at crafting and performing distilled pop music, Saturday Looks Good to Me seemed genuinely excited to be on stage. Everywhere I looked there were big smiles, onstage and off. “How does it sound out there? Like 2004?” singer/guitarist Fred Thomas joked after a few songs. We had waited a long time for this.

“The last show we played in the United States before we stopped doing this was actually at the Knitting Factory downtown, or where the fuck Financial District, and it was weird. It was a little bit different than tonight.” singer/guitarist Fred Thomas revealed at one point to cheers.

Of course SLGTM played a number of old favorites (“Meet Me by the Water,” “The Girl is Distracted,” and “Alcohol”), but they also played a number of new ones from their upcoming album, to be released this fall.

Here’s a new one for you to hear. It’s called “Invisible Friend”

And of course, here’s “Alcohol”

A delightful show, full of crowd surfing on the part of many band members. Welcome back, guys.

Springing into Summer

The changing weather has me trading in my weepy winter jams for sunnier fare. Here are a few songs to help get you in the mood for the long, hot days.

Thieving Irons

Nate Martinez of Thieving Irons (photo courtesy of the artist)

The solo project of Brooklynite Nate Martinez, Thieving Irons crafted his upcoming album (Behold, The Dreamer!) from dreams and a found book. “We spend our whole lives amassing various experiences,” Martinez writes on his site. “Some traumatic, hopefully many more joyful. This album serves as a testament to my own.”

“So Long” by The Thieving Irons:

Eleanore Everdell and Jason Friedman of The Hundred in the Hands (photo courtesy of artist)

Named after a bloody battle in 1866 in which Crazy Horse led his warriors to conquer and slay 100 men, The Hundred in the Hands is a Brooklyn-based duo that specialize in dreamy electro-pop.

“Killing It” by The Hundred In The Hands:

Owen Ashworth of Advance Base(photo Marc Krause)

You fell in love with Owen Ashworth when he played under the cumbersome but endearing moniker Casiotone for the Painfully Alone. Owen’s back with a fresh project and a new album, A Shut-In’s Prayer, which just dropped this week. Close your eyes and picture yourself as a peanuts character as you listen to the intro to this catchy little ditty.

“New Gospel” by Advance Base:

Jessica Baldouf, Leif Anders, and Dwayne Paul Cullen of Orca Team (photo Ryan Furbush)

With their pleasant lo-fi/garage aesthetic , it’s not hard to see how Seattle’s Orca Team managed to nail a spot on the bill with veteran Ann Arbor group Saturday Looks Good to Me this Friday. Their new EP “Restraint” will be out this June.

“Vancouver B.C.” Orca Team:

Crinkles (photo courtesy of the artist)

Vermont-turned-Brooklyn 4-piece Crinkles have been making music together for years but just released their first LP in April. These guys impressed me when I saw them at opening night of Rooftop Films, and I look forward to hearing more from them.

“Elevator” by Crinkles: