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SESSION #42 - Yellow Ostrich

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Entries in Concert (6)


Live at Mercury Lounge: Matthew Hemerlein


Even if you haven't heard Matthew's music, there's something to grasp onto from just looking at him. No shoes necessary, perfectly on-point blue jeans, a sleep-ready henley, a haircut that's more Men's Vogue than musician and a handle on an instrument most typically used in folksy-throwback bands on Mercury Lounge's stage. Multidimensional in the finest of senses, it's tough to figure out what this guy's all about on the surface. And, as one of the kindest people we've ever met and deepest artists we've ever worked with, his music has a particular uncommonness that keeps us coming back for more.

Which, if your extend of knowledge about him still brims at the photos above, should change now. Now-now. Now-now-now-now-now. There are few people in this world who can master a spot-on Ginuwine cover or write a song called "Luminescent Braid" that's actually a chunk of musical poetry, and I'm confident in saying that Matthew might be the only name in that sliver between circles in the venn diagram of aforementioned skills. We're told he'll be bringing his weekly Washington D.C.-based Family Hemerlein showcases our way this year, and you can bet your butts we'll be urging the lot of you to come along with us. He may be far away for now, but soon, he'll be ours once again.


A Bitta Bela.

Never mind that I showed up 40 minutes late and wound up being seated so close to Bela Fleck that he probably could have scolded me, I realized one thing while spacing the fuck out to drum machines and harmonicas and gut-string instruments: seeing a band like that makes me, in a way, almost never want to go back to Mercury Lounge again.

Now, before an indie mob starts drawing literal pitchforks and I'm thought to undermine this entire furniture endeavor, you gotta realize that we silently made it an intergral part of the site to not pay attention to boundary lines and not make booking decisions based on who gets placed in what genre. That's how we've been lucky enough to capture everything from an electronic duo to an Australian folk-rock band to a multi-talented violinist, all of which, in a way, now fit a different category in and of themselves. 

I'll save that discussion for another day, as this story's not about that. It's about costly, ticketed, sit-down theatre shows being an entirely different beast I completely forgot about, and didn't realize until last night that I miss altogether. 

At a show like this, there are no cell phones shrink-raying and dip-dying the entire experience into a clickable image with a two-sentence update. No one's at the back bar talking too loudly, nobody's e-mailing their co-worker about tomorrow's meeting, not a soul is updating Facebook during a song. At the least, there's a some rowdy grandfather cheering every Future Man solo; at most, there's a curious amount of audience-led eyefucking. (Ladies, if you get dumped, put on some makeup go to a banjo concert. Trust me.)

To be at a show where one band member is legit dressed like a pirate, another holds a record amount of GRAMMYs but you'd never recognize him on the street and people give more of a shit about their African instrument documentary than how their Twitter handle is spelled is refreshing. It's real. And, it makes me want to see more shows like this. 

After all, you know no one in that audience was holding up an iPad to snap a couple pics.


Northside Festival - Thursday & Friday

Now that Northside is over and N. 6th street will soon again be filled with people convening outside of Public Assembly, smoking outside of Music Hall and clashing with the nightclubbing Sea crowd, we've at least got the memories of what was the best excuse in a while to come out and see your favorite Brooklyn bands play one after another, filling a weekend with an onslaught of plastic badge-driven live music. And, if memories are few but far between from partying like it was a music festival without the sobering outdoor dehydration, we've got you covered with a brilliant video recap Donald made while I lay sickly asleep all morning, noon and night yesterday (word to the wise: never, ever eat a container of beets from Oasis) and photos shot all around town.

There's more to come, specifically with DOM, Twin Sister, Les Savy Fav, Cults, Male Bonding and more, so make sure to check back for the weekend half of our good Northside times.


(Click Here to watch in full HD)






Punch Covers.

Punch Brothers had never played Brooklyn before last night's show at Music Hall of Williamsburg,but I'd bet the crumpled six dollars in my wallet that they'll be making their way back to the borough real soon. Performing the entirety of their new album Antifogmatic and then some, Chris Thile, the frontman of the group, seemed beyond appreciative to be back home in New York with an elated audience, and made it known many times that he’d like to bring the whole lot of nameless bodies along to each show.

The boys definitely seem to be having more fun with the new material, and after two years of touring in support of an album centered around a forty-minute, four-moment suite, you can't blame 'em. But the highlight of the night wasn't when the band rambunctiously proclaimed their adoration for the sauce in "Rye Whiskey" or when Chris taught the crowd about sailing superstitions he uncovered during a fit of Googling — it came when they played the songs that were most different from their own.

Namely, by of Montreal.

I'm sure only like 7% of the audience knew what was going on, but man, did their bluegrassified version of “Gronlandic Edit” work. I've tried to normalize the idea of the mandolin prodigy being inspired by a guy who has more costumes than a circus performer and Patricia Field combined, but my brain gets fatigued from simply trying to imagine them in the same frame. Still, I hope Chris Thile and Kevin Barnes get together for things like tea or slices of pizza or dinner at one of their favorite neighborhood Thai restaurants and when the meal's over they hug and then Chris gets covered in glitter and then they both giggle and look at the camera with a huge smile and a thumbs up and then roll to credits. Oh, just imagine the buddy comedies that could ensue — the music-based plots! The ridiculous cartoon creatures! The glitter! Oh, so much glitter.

Despite being biased towards Barnes, the band's set-ending cover of Radiohead's "Kid A" was executed just as impressively, but remained far more haunting until it tumbled right into "Wayside Back in Time", a regular re-worked tune. It's one thing to excel at your own songs, but to take on everyone from Fiona Apple to Gillian Welch and make it work is a feat of its own, one which sets these five far apart from the rest.

(Well, if the rest were bluegrass musicians covering dance-pop songs.)



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We Got Our Asses Off The Couch And Saw Two Door Cinema Club

We were there! At Bowery Ballroom! And Donald took photos! And I danced like a nerd! But we were too busy eating hamburgers afterwards to make a video review, since there's nothing attractive about someone eating a chili-topped food. (Duh.)

It's really kind of nutty that this was the band's second show in New York ever. No Facebook invites, no begging for friends to come out on a Wednesday night, no loading in and out of a miniature bar-club hybrid with people drunkenly blabbing the entire show — the kids (literally, their age makes it borderline inappropriate for me to find them as precious as I do) leapfrogged to selling out Bowery weeks in advance, packing the place to the walls with a crowd singing along to their choruses. Quite the warm welcoming for a band whose majority of members have never even stepped foot in Manhattan before.

I can't really tell their songs apart because I like all of them. And because they all sound kind of similar. But also because I like them. Maybe because they all sound similar. But yes, I like them. A lot. And if you like easily accessible, cheerful songs to boogie along to, you should too.

The end.


all photos - Donald Rasmussen