Monthly Archives: November 2013

Currently Stuck in My Head – “Give Up” by Miles Kane

by Cherie

There are just some songs that can instantly improve your mood, regardless of how bad a day you might be having. “Give Up” by Miles Kane is one of those songs for me. It doesn’t matter what kind of mood I’m in; tired, hungry, angry, stressed, happy, or something in between. The second this song comes over my speakers I’m ready to kick ass and take names.

“Give Up” is the first single off of Kane’s second album, Don’t Forget Who You Are, and its an aggressive, in-your-face rock song. The song comes on strong and doesn’t ever slow down. “People call me superstitious / well they’d better watch their tongues / this one is so malicious / got me on the hit and run” Kane sings on the opening verse. The lyrics are sharp and biting but the song is upbeat enough that it ends up leaving the listener with an empowered feeling, rather then a bitter aftertaste. And, of course the song features superb guitars; a subtle reminder that Miles started out not as a lead sing but as the lead guitarist for a now defunct band.

Don’t Forget Who You Are is a great album overall, and “Give Up” was a perfect choice for a first single. If you only know Miles Kane as “the other half of the Last Shadow Puppets” you really should check out his solo work; its fantastic.

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November 24, 2013 · 2:19 am

Concert Recap: Bastille (Live At Stockholm)

by Ken, guest contributor

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I finally got to do it; I photographed a concert in Europe. This has been a dream of mine for years and getting to live it out was…it was beyond unreal. I’m quite glad that my first Euro concert experience was with Bastille, who are a band that I have been hoping to do work with for some time now. I missed them when they played NYC earlier this year and since then their reputation for being a brilliant live band has only soared.

My flight landed in Stockholm an hour before the show started and the whole time I was on the plane I was worried about making it to the gig. I literally ran like the roadrunner from the Arlanda Express to my hostel and then shoved my bags into a locker and rushed into a cab to make it to the venue (anyone who knows me won’t be surprised to read any of that). I made it with nearly twenty minutes to spare.

Arenan-Fryshuset became my first European venue that night and I was gobsmacked at it the second I walked inside. It’s a massive room that is a music venue converted from a high school basketball court; the layout of the place still had many of the distinct features of a basketball court that gave the venue a unique charm. The opening act, To Kill A King, played a heavily passionate set where I noticed the band members being taken aback by the fans of Bastille singing their songs back to them. The front row was filled with girls extending their arms in the hopes of touching the members of To Kill A King and judging by the energy the guys displayed on stage the admiration from the girls was more then appreciated.

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I knew that Bastille was popular among girls in particular but it really is one of those things you have to witness to get the full understanding of it. For a second I felt I was at a pop show but once the guys from Bastille emerged from the side of the stage any chance of having a coherent thought was quickly diminished. The second the Londoners took to the stage an onslaught of screaming and cheering began, and never once did it falter during the band’s set. Though I have to say, all of that screaming felt fitting.

They have the songs and they play them well, and best of all they add so much passion to how they perform their songs live; especially frontman Dan Smith. Their debut album, Bad Blood, has grown to be one of my favorite releases of 2013 and seeing it performed live was beyond a treat for me. It’s one of those albums that was made to be performed live, made to be sang to and it was amazing to see how it’s grown into it’s own thing by a crowd halfway across the world.

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Something people will ask me when I get back to New York is ‘how do the crowds in Sweden differ then the crowds in America?’ and my answer to that will probably be; Swedes are insane (in a beautiful way) with their thankfulness. In New York a live show can feel like a ‘regular business’ type of deal but in Stockholm I felt constant energy coursing through the room of Arenan-Fryshuset, which was an amazing thing to take in. People made sure to let their joy come out of them and that can be a bit of a shock to someone from a city where everyone tries to look cool at concerts (I’m looking at your Brooklynites).

You can see more of Ken’s pictures from the show (including some of the opening band) on his tumblr.

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“THANK YOU STREETLIGHT!” – A Moment of Silence For One Of My Favorite Bands

by Vasilis, contributing writer

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There are so many things I will remember from the last Streetlight Manifesto show at Starland Ballroom on November 16, 2013.

The drive. The anxiety shifting to a sense of accomplishment that I made it on my own. The huge parking lot. The excitement of the line moving. The first step inside Starland Ballroom. The beautiful bathrooms. Exploring a new venue. We Do The Ska. Gumby and The Banana. Chants of BA-NA-NA! Cheering for iHop. “Fuck You Dennys!” Crowd surfers during Dan Potthast’s set. Dance party during Dan’s set. Larry! “We’re all ass-holes! *clap clap clapclapclap*”. Bubbles. Camera crews. The lights going down. The forward rush of the floor as the band took the stage. Sweat. Pain. Pushing. Getting smacked in the head. The familiar excitement of hearing “We Will Fall Together”. Sweat. Tomas’ grunting stage banter. Bending the rules to play “We Are The Few” even though they played it the night before. Hearing their entire new album The Hands That Thieve. Tomas forgetting the words to “Your Day Will Come”. “Stick THAT on your tumblr!” So much sweat. The Big Sleep. 12341234. Somewhere In The Between. “Thank You Streetlight! *clap clap clapclapclap*”. “We’re Not Leaving! *clap clap clapclapclap*”. The final bow. The music coming up. My new beautiful poster. The end of the night. The ride home.

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There are so many things I will remember from the 15 Streetlight Manifesto shows I have been to in my life, from my first show at Roseland Ballroom on January 20, 2009.

Losing my glasses 5 times, only to find them before they were crushed. The sweat and post-show showers. Losing my voice. Horn parts sounded out by mouth. That time I happened to be in DC when they were and ended up going to see them at the 930 Club. The biggest Warped Tour circle pit I ever saw. Everything Goes Numb in its entirety. Seeing The Wonder Years for the first time and instantly falling in love. Conga line during Reel Big Fish’s set. Seeing them play my college campus. The Crazy Donkey post-hiatus show.  Meeting Michael Emerson. The insane pits. The skanking. Chants for Mrs. Buttersworth. Fans playing “duck, duck goose” pre-show. Tomas’ stage banter (or lack thereof). The amazing horn lines. The insane drumming. So much sweat. The excitement of buying a ticket. The wait until the show. The sadness when it’s over.

Without this band, my love for live music would not have been born. I owe this band a tremendous debt of gratitude. Tomas Kalnoky has made it clear this is not the end of the band, it’s the end for now. So to Streetlight Manifesto, I say this is not goodbye, this is see you later.

A moment of silence, please…

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FTHC Flag – North American Edition

by Cherie

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(Frank Turner pictured with the FTHC flag at the start of the US tour)

Music is, at its best, a social medium. Its true that sometimes songs are written and recorded by one person alone, but for the most part music is a collaborative process. Many different people impact the shaping and production of a song from start to finish. Songs can be so many things; they can tell stories, they can relieve past experiences, they can immortalize a failed relationship. People can identify and relate with songs for so many more reasons, and they can interpret a song differently then the person who originally wrote it. That’s one of the things that I’ve always loved about music. You can go to a show and there’s a thousand people singing along to the same band as you, but every single one of you is singing along for a different reason. Its a personal experience for all of you but its also be a collective experience at the same time. Music can truly bring people together in fascinating ways.

Frank Turner decided to take that concept one step further. Before his latest UK tour he had a flag made up depicting the album artwork from his newest release, Tape Deck Heart. The goal was for the flag to make its way to every date on the tour without the help of Frank or any member of the band. “It was a fun little thing,” Turner stated. “We were gonna make a flag that had the album artwork and the tour dates on, and in the first show we’d give it out and see if it could make it to the last show without any of our help. And the idea, the point… is to prove that people who don’t know each other can come together and do something communal and something interesting and we can make friends with each other.”

It was a social experiment of sorts, seeing how far people would be willing to go to achieve a common goal. The experience was documented with pictures, capturing the flag’s travels all around the country in the hands of numerous flag bearers. The experiment was a huge success, successfully making its way to every date on the tour. At the end of the tour Frank signed the flag and auctioned it off for charity, raising over £1300 .

When Frank announced a US tour in support of Tape Deck Heart some American fans decided to try their own experiment. Creating a secret facebook group and utilizing the platforms of facebook, tumblr, and twitter, some fans decided to try and replicate the experience. So far the US flag has been a spectacular success, making its way to every show despite some minor bumps along the way. Fans have also chosen to document the flag’s adventures by taking numerous photos and videos of its journey. The flag is also accompanied by a tour book where fans which fans can sign as well. You can follow the flag’s adventures on tumblr by clicking the following link.

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Band of the Week – Pentimento

by Vasilis, contributing writer

You always hear people say they like a band because they’re very hardworking or they’re nice guys. Often, too much is made of these qualities. While important, in the end the music still makes or breaks the band.

In Pentimento’s case, the music helps back those qualities up. The Buffalo 4-piece has faced many obstacles, but instead of getting discouraged they used it to further fuel their love for music and their fans. On November 13 2012, the band was set to release their self-titled debut, but after cutting ties with Panic Records and moving forward with the release via Paper + Plastick and Black Numbers, Panic threatened severe legal recourse, forcing an indefinite postponement. The band responded by offering fans a free digital download, which they could get by emailing them. The band explained, “Honesty, truth, integrity, sincerity…these are all things that are not as plentiful in the world as they should be. Pentimento, as a band and as individuals, are on a collective journey to find more of these things in the world and within ourselves…we are learning from our mistakes everyday and it is so exhilarating to do so and to realize that this exact process is what life is all about.”

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The move was risky, but for young bands like Pentimento (they formed in 2010), exposure is paramount. They treated the setback as an opportunity, touring extensively with artists like The Swellers, Candy Hearts, Allison Weiss, and Less than Jake and building their fan base along the way. I was lucky enough to see them in Austin at SXSW, where they played an Alternative Press showcase featuring Frank Turner, Andrew WK, What’s Eating Gilbert, and Crown the Empire. The band can always be found chatting with fans following their set, greeting everyone with a handshake, a smile, and a heartfelt “thank you.” The band takes the time to answer every tweet and message with something witty, funny, and friendly, and they respond to all feedback with appreciation and warmth. When I saw them open for Less than Jake and told them I almost missed the show because of a flat tire, they repeatedly thanked me for the support and vocalist/guitarist Jeremiah Pauly signed my CD telling me how happy they were the flat tire didn’t keep me from coming.

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But like I said, the music ultimately makes the band. Pentimento recently released a 4-song EP titled Inside the Sea, a labor of love that follows the band’s trend of brutally honest and relatable lyrics while demonstrating continued musical growth. The album continues along the path of melodic punk akin to fellow upstate New York band Polar Bear Club while incorporating the passion and precision of Where You Want to Be-era Taking Back Sunday. Mike Hansen’s raw backing vocals greatly compliment Jeremiah’s gritty voice. Every note is honest and powerful, with the guitars flowing seamlessly from distorted to clean and the drums adding a pulsing backdrop, especially seen on the stand-out closer “It’s Okay” and the sing-a-long bridge on “Just Friends.” Mike Hansen’s unapologetic and fervent lyrics shine throughout as he searches for answers while recounting stories of loss, growing pains, and self-discovery.

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Pentimento is finishing up a 6-week tour opening for the PropertyofZack-sponsored tour featuring Real Friends, Mixtapes, and Forever Came Calling. Last Wednesday, they played a 7-song set at The Studio at Webster Hall that included tracks fromPentimento and Inside the Sea. Speaking fondly of New York pizza and the positive response they receive in their home state, the band again thanked the audience before diving into “Circles” and “Unless”, two of their most popular songs. As always, their performance was on-point and filled with great enthusiasm and unwavering honesty. There is little rest in the band’s future as they will be playing a Long Island New Year’s Eve show with Transit and Misser before heading out on a January tour opening for Reggie and the Full Effect and Dads.

Pentimento is a band I strongly believe in. They are as sincere and honest a group as you will find in the music industry. They truly understand that playing music isn’t a right, it’s a privilege, and one they cherish every time they are on a stage or speaking to a fan. If you go up to them and say you love their music, they respond humbly with genuine appreciation, something that is all too rare today. If I could, I would give all the money I have to support these guys, because their music and their personality is very important in today’s punk landscape and because they care as much about you as you care about them. Luckily, with a new EP in tow and their troubles in the rearview, the future is looking very bright for Pentimento.

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Band of the Week – The Last Shadow Puppets

by Cherie

Lately I’ve been on a rock kick.

It all started when I first heard the new Arctic Monkey album, “AM”. I was instantly hooked on the band, though I’d never really given them much of a listen before. Once I started listening to their back catalog, which is quite immense, I fell in love. When someone told me that the lead singer, Alex Turner, had a side project called the Last Shadow Puppets I was thrilled to discover there was more to listen to. I didn’t realize until I started listening that TLSP was actually a collaborative project with fellow Brit Miles Kane. Combing their lyrical wit and vocal harmonies with a twenty-two piece orchestra, the two young musicians created a lush experience for their debut album; making the listener feel like they were listening to the soundtrack of a sixties thriller. It’s dark and brooding at times but its utterly brilliant.

One of the biggest highlights of The Last Shadow Puppets is that the boys trade off lead vocals between harmonies. At the time they recorded their first, and sadly only, album, Turner was already a big name in the music world thanks to the huge success of the Arctic Monkeys. A lot of press was given to him and the Monkeys even when he was doing interviews with Kane for TLSP. But both Turner and Kane have always made it clear that TLSP was a fully collaborative process, with two equally talented minds coming together to create something extraordinary.

Its been five years since the release of TLSP’s debut album “The Age of the Understatement”, and at this point in time there seems to be no concrete plans for a second album; though both Kane and Turner have repeatedly expressed a wish to do so in the future. With all the time that has passed since the last album it would be interesting to see what direction the boys would decide to go in with a second album. For now though, I’ll happily put this album on repeat indefinitely.

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November 2, 2013 · 4:36 pm