Tag Archives: Brooklyn

February 28, 2017 — “Teasin'” by Hiccup

Hiccup

Hiccup

If you only listen to one song tonight, make it “Teasin'” by Hiccup (2017, from the forthcoming album Imaginary Enemies).
Hiccup is a pop-punk/indie rock/garage rock trio from Brooklyn. They released a self-titled EP in 2015, and they’re set to release their debut album via Father/Daughter Records on March 24.

Hallie Bulleit (bass/vocals) and Alex Clute (guitar/vocals) met when they were hired as the house band on The Chris Gethard show, which started out on late night public access TV in NYC, then made it to cable, and is now part of the Funny or Die family. For that show, they wrote silly, poppy, punky 30-seconds songs that never saw the light of day. They decided that they wanted to record some real songs, and they recruited Piyal Basu (drums) to round out the band. The three are huge fans of The Ramones, and claim to be influenced by the likes of The Smoking Popes, Superchunk, and Jawbreaker.

It’s worth mentioning that Bulleit has been in a couple of other bands, but she’s also an actress, percussionist and aerialist with some real chops. On Broadway, she’s been in Stomp, Fuerza Bruta, and Rent. She also was in a Los Angeles production of Rent alongside Neil Patrick Harris.

I got something in the mailbag a couple of weeks ago that was specifically about a different Hiccup song, but I starred the email and put a sticky note on my laptop to write about them “soon”. I liked the video for that song (“Lady Macbeth & Miss Havisham”), and I’ve really been loving the output from Father/Daughter Records lately, so I knew it was a winner. Last night, when I was looking for other stuff, I happened upon the video for tonight’s song, and I liked it and the song so much that I felt some more urgency to write about them.

I haven’t heard the whole album yet, but I love the two songs that I have heard, and I’m looking forward to the March 24 release of their debut album.

Tonight’s song brings to my mind what might happen if Superchunk did a raucous set of Neutral Milk Hotel covers.

This is that song:
“Teasin'” by Hiccup

It’s just a fast and gritty power pop song. It’s all blood, sweat and beer. It’s got great hooks, and really love that middle eight section from 1:26 to 1:36 where it’s just the guitar, and it’s a bit calmer and all muffled. The chorus kicks back in and hell breaks loose again. At least for one more minute.

The video is a bit of fun. A little bit “performance”, but mainly it seems to be about the drudgery of office jobs. Here’s that video:

The album will be out on March 24. You can pre-order physical copies here. There are two different pressings of vinyl. One on “mustard yellow/aqua blue”, and one on translucent “piss yellow”. There’s also a CD version and a digital download version.


January 25, 2017 — “New York” by Peter Silberman

Peter Silberman

Peter Silberman

If you only listen to one song tonight, make it “New York” by Peter Silberman (2017, from the forthcoming album Impermanence)

Peter Silberman is an ambient indie rocker from Brooklyn. You probably know him as the front man of The Antlers. The Antlers was a full band, but the first two records (2006’s Uprooted and 2007’s In The Attic of the Universe) were just solo projects for Silberman. The 2009 album Hospice received universal critical acclaim, but it came out during a point in my life when I wasn’t listening to or buying very many new releases. I heard about Hospice during a snowstorm in January of 2010, and I immediately fell in love with it. If I had made a year-end list in 2009, it would have been very near the top spot.

I’ve liked everything else by The Antlers, but Hospice remains my clear favourite of theirs.

As I was researching the upcoming new releases this winter, I was surprised to see that Silberman had a solo record coming out. I had high expectations, and the two songs that I’ve heard from the six-song album have exceeded my expectations.

There’s no denying that Silberman sounds a bit like Jeff Buckley, and he certainly does here:

“New York” by Peter Silberman

The softly played guitar bit plays gently off Silberman’s falsetto, and the “horns” and other stuff join in nicely. It’s all very quiet, and that’s on purpose. He says that the whole album is about the ever-changing face of the city he calls home. More importantly, though, it’s about the changes he’s going through. He had to stop playing music for a while after he suffered significant hearing impairment in his left ear and chronic tinnitus. He says that even the sound of his own voice reverberating in his head was painful. After some time, though, he was able to slowly work his way back to working. In an interview with NPR last year he said:

What I found was that if I sang very quietly and if I played guitar very quietly that this would be a path for me.

This is indeed a bit quieter than the stuff we’re used to hearing from The Antlers. So quiet, in fact, that you can practically hear the room tone. I don’t know if he’s still using the “bedroom recording” technique, but it sort of sounds that way. And we like it.

It’s a stunning song on what promises to be a fantastic album.

There’s a video for the song, which features a bunch of “found” archival footage of people in New York.

Impermanence will be released on February 24 via ANTI- Records. You can pre-order it on vinyl here. Alternately, you can pre-order a digital copy of the album via Bandcamp here. If you pre-order the digital download, you’ll immediately get the first two songs “Karuna” and “New York”.


June 7, 2016 — “Float Away” by Exiles

Exiles

If you only listen to one song tonight, make it “Float Away” by Exiles (2016, from the Search Lights EP).

Exiles is a jangly dreampop/shoegaze quintet from Brooklyn. I don’t know anything about them, and I just stumbled upon their music today while I was looking for something else on Bandcamp.

All I know is what I could piece together from their Bandcamp bio and their Facebook page. They began as a bedroom recording project duo, and added three members pretty soon after formation. It looks like they got started in 2014, and used to be less noise and more jangle. Like late-era Velocity Girl doing Smiths covers. Speaking of which, my research tells me that this past Halloween, Exiles played a show of Smiths covers, and they may or may not have been dressed as tacos for that show.

That’s it. That’s literally everything that I know. The three-song EP came out in January, and this is the second song from it:
“Float Away” by Exiles

I really like the way that it’s noisy right out of the gate. The big drum hit, then the jangle-fuzz guitar. Amps not turned to eleven, but turned up loud enough. There’s something about the no-nonsense business of getting right to the noise that brings the terrific Thrushes to my mind. Moire Echo’s vocals have a bit of polish on them, but I love how airy they are.

I also love the end, when it comes to a full stop, but there’s so much delay on the guitar that it chimes out for a second. Again, this reminds me of Thrushes.

Here’s a video of the band performing the song in some sort of rehearsal space. See if you can spot the framed Songs From The Big Chair LP hanging on the wall.

No polish on the vocals, and I kind of prefer it that way.

You can grab a download of Search Lights from Bandcamp by naming your price here.


June 3, 2016 — “Normandy” by Heliotropes

photo credit: Matthew Cylinder

Heiotropes

If you only listen to one song tonight, make it “Normandy” by Heliotropes (2016, from the forthcoming album Over There That Way).

Heliotropes is an alternative rock band from Brooklyn. The project was born in 2009 when Jessica Numsuwankijkul (vocals/guitar/bass) and Amber Myers had mutual admiration for Brian Eno and Spacemen 3. They started off as an Eno cover band, but they were also playing some sludgy metal and other stuff. Over the seven years, their sound has changed some and their lineup has changed a lot. Their current lineup consists of Numsuwankijkul, Ricci Swift (guitar/vocals), Richard Thomas (bass/vocals), and Greg Giuffré (drums).

They released an album called A Constant Sea in June of 2013, and it was met with critical praise. I didn’t know about it then, and I didn’t know about the band at all until I started to get things in the mail bag about the forthcoming album. Over There That Way will be released via The End Records.

Their sound doesn’t really fit perfectly under any specific genre umbrella, but it fits relatively well under several. There’s certainly elements of atmospheric and ambient rock, doom-gaze, psychedelic rock, and good old-fashioned 1990s style “alternative rock”. Some reviews have likened them to Mazzy Star. Some have compared them to 1960s girl groups. Others have focused on the heavier and sludgier side. The three new songs that I’ve heard remind me of different things. On “Easy”, another of the new songs, I’m reminded quite a bit of Madder Rose. On tonight’s song, I’m reminded of something that Rose Melberg might have done in the late 1990s.

Not only does the song structure and Numsuwankijkul’s vocals remind me of Melberg, but in that vein, it seems perfectly fitting that the song is just 1:40 in length. This is that song:

“Normandy” by Heliotropes

I’m especially fond of the short bit with the vocal harmonies in the chorus. And although it’s only 100 seconds, I didn’t even notice how short it was. I just wanted to hear it again and again.

You can pre-order the album on LP or CD format here.


May 26, 2016 — “Tsunami” by Told Slant

Felix Walworth (Told Slant)

Felix Walworth (Told Slant)

If you only listen to one song tonight, make it “Tsunami” by Told Slant (2016, from the forthcoming album Going By).

Told Slant is an indie rock/indie folk/indie punk recording project based in Brooklyn. The band is really not much more than a “solo” project of Eskimeaux drummer Felix Walworth, who is also a founding member of the Epoch Music collective. Walworth prefers the gender neutral pronouns “They” and “them”. They do all of the recording themselves, but when they perform live, Walworth is joined by fellow Epoch members Gabrielle Smith out of Eskimeaux and Emily Sprague out of Florist. Walworth also plays drums in both of those bands and also in another band called Bellows.

As a bit of trivia that will NEVER come up at your local trivia night, Walworth’s father Danny was in a band with Thurston Moore before Moore formed Sonic Youth.

Walworth has a familiar style of singing that might remind the listener of some pretty varied singers. I can hear bits of Matt Pond, bits of Eric Bachmann (not for his work in Archers of Loaf, but for his work in Crooked Fingers). Some reviewers say that the entire Told Slant package reminds them of Bon Iver, or maybe to Bonnie “Prince” Billie.

Told Slant released one album called Still Water in August of 2012, and the sophomore album Going By will be out on June 16 via Double Double Whammy Records. I’ve been getting stuff in the mailbag, and it’s finally time to share what I’ve been hearing.

Here’s the video for tonight’s song:
“Tsunami” by Told Slant

I like the imperfections in the vocals. Of course I love the coed vocal parts in the chorus. I love the banjo. I love that it’s impossible to put this song into a convenient cubby-hole. It’s a little bit of several different genres, and it all mixes together well. This song reminds me a bit of Group of the Altos, who were one of my favorites of Hopscotch 2012.

The album will be out on June 16, and you can pre-order it via DDW here.

Told Slant just started a US tour, which will go through the middle of July. Details are here.


March 15, 2016 — “Captain” by OxenFree

OxenFree

If you only listen to one song today, make it “Captain” by OxenFree (2016, from the forthcoming album Beacons).

OxenFree is an indie rock quintet from Brooklyn. They formed in 2013, and they released their first EP — Fire, If We’re Anything— in 2014. With that release, they won comparisons to Canadian supergroups The New Pornogrphers and Broken Social Scene. I’m on board with those (the latter more than the former) but they were also compared to The Replacements, and I don’t really see the comparison there.

I didn’t know about the band until I got a couple of emails about them and a preview copy of their forthcoming debut album. Although it’s not quite as pronounced on today’s song, the rest of the album really does remind me of a You Forgot it In People-era BSS. I love that album to pieces, so the fact that this OxenFree album reminds me of it is a very good thing.

Again, this song only sounds a little like BSS. The rest of the album sounds a LOT like them.

I love the energy behind this. With this song, I’m reminded a little of Milwaukee post-rock/indie folk group Altos. In case you don’t know that band’s name, they’re a 12-piece band. BSS had as many as 17 members at any given time. The point is that OxenFree, with its five members, reminds me of two bands that have more than 10 members and many more moving parts.

While I’m not crazy about OxenFree’s name, I like what they’re doing. I’ve listened to the whole album a couple of times, and I’m very impressed. I wouldn’t be surprised if this ends up doing very well on my 2016 year-end list.

The album comes out on May 13 via Brooklyn-based Sneaky Bear Records. You can pre-order a digital download or purple vinyl physical copy via Bandcamp here.


January 24, 2016 — “Is The Is Are” by DIIV

Zachary Cole Smith of DIIV

If you only listen to one song today, make it “Is The Is Are” by DIIV (2016, from the forthcoming album Is The Is Are).

DIIV (pronounce it like “dive”) is an indie rock/dark dream pop quartet from Brooklyn. The essence of the band is Zachary Cole Smith, who is also in Beach Fossils. A few years ago, he holed himself up to write the songs that would eventually be the first DIIV record. Unlike most people, he didn’t hole up in a cabin in the snowy woods. During a summer, he holed up in the corner of somebody else’s NYC studio apartment. No windows, no running water, no air conditioning. All he had with him was records and books.

The debut album Oshin was my 25th favorite album of 2012, but I probably should have put it higher on the list. A lot of people did. There’s been a lot of anticipation around the new album, which will finally hit shelves on February 5 via Captured Tracks.

Like the first album, the new one has a lot of DIY qualities. It’s a bit grimy and sweaty. The title track certainly is. In a view of the bigger picture, though, the new album is a bit brighter than its predecessor. I haven’t spent a ton of time with the album yet, but I really like it so far. Here’s the title track:

“Is The Is Are” by DIIV

There’s something about this that has the feel of early-mid 1980s college radio while also sounding contemporary. I immediately thought of the REM of that era, and I almost never think of REM anymore. It’s still a good thing. I think it’s safe to say that Smith is influenced to some degree by Sonic Youth, and some of that influence is all over this record. I also hear some things that remind me of Stereolab, and some things that remind me of Blonde Redhead, plus other things.

The album will be out on February 5, and you can pre-order it via Bandcamp here


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