Local Natives released their sophomore album, Hummingbird, earlier this week. The follow-up to debut Gorilla Manor promises another set of inviting orchestrations, charged with pure electric rock power and other-worldly vocals. Check out “Breakers” here, or try to snag some last minute tickets to this weekend’s sold out shows at Music Hall of Williamsburg and Bowery Ballroom.
Amid the pre-show buzz and the sound of PBRs cracking, one fan said, “I’ve never heard another band that sounds like them.” She’s right. Though The Weeks could claim kinship with forefathers of southern rock like The Band or the Allman Brothers, they are equally steeped in the music of indie contemporaries like Spoon, The Fratellis or Kings of Leon. But to say they actually sound like any of these other artists underestimates their individuality. Their sound is wholly theirs, soaring with raw grunge vocals, pop refrains, funk melodies and good old fashioned rock ‘n roll.
Four of the band’s members—twin brothers Cyle and Cain Barnes, guitarist Sam Williams and bassist Damien Bone—have been playing together since their early teens. The fifth, keyboardist Alex Collier, is, by his own admission, “so new you can still smell the plastic” on him. But he complements the band’s sound onstage as much as he does their offstage disposition.
Cain and Cyle agree that being twins has contributed to their success, partially because of their natural creative chemistry, and partially because of all that hair. “It does help having tall, long-haired twins in the band,” they say. “We stick out, we’re not hard to find.”
The Weeks have recorded two full-length albums in less than a year—September’s Gutter Gaunt Gangster and its follow-up Dear Bo Jackson (due out in April), both on Kings of Leon’s Nashville-based label, Serpents and Snakes. They finished work in the studio before heading out on tour, and seem more energized than exhausted by making so much new music in such a short period of time.
The band has expanded their sound for the new album. Fans can expect everything they’ve come to love, plus a whole lot more. “It’s a bigger sound. It’s less raw,” says Sam. “Female backup singers, horns, a little bit of pedal steel. We pulled out a lot of stops on this one.”
When asked if they consider themselves Southern gentlemen, Damien answers with a resounding “Yes ma’am!” Some examples of southern gentlemanly behavior? Being nice to ladies, saying please and thank you, drinking bourbon and trying to thaw the hearts of New Yorkers by waving at strangers or holding doors open, even on a 12-degree January night.
As teenagers in Jackson, The Weeks were the house bad at legendary dive WC Dons (now defunct). Though their following may still be strongest down south, they’re gaining momentum all over the country.
“We’ve had some people drive crazy distances,” says Sam. “Like, when we played Louisville, someone drove from Colorado. That’s 18 hours.” He plucks at the strings of his guitar to tune it. “I appreciate it, obviously. But I don’t know how to handle it either. Do you give ‘em free shit? Like, here’s a gas voucher, you know?”
“There’s some people who have tattoos of lyrics and stuff,” says Cain. “That’s really cool…meeting random people that have your shit tattooed on them somewhere.”
They aren’t kidding about the rabid fans. Before the show, I spoke with someone who had been trying to see them live for five years. “This is the farthest north they’ve ever come,” she said. “I drove down all the way from Rhode Island and I’m probably going to sleep in my car.”
The show opened with local psych rockers Street Smells, who delivered a solid set full of power chords and dreamy vocals (think The Kills’ goth siblings). Their debut Creamy LP is currently available for download.
Next, The Weeks’ frequent tour-mates (and fellow southerners) Junior Astronomers, took the stage. Their music, like their performance style, is rooted in a kind of controlled chaos. Lead singer Terrence Richard ripped and twisted around the stage while the band pounded out each song. “Music needs to sound like human beings, like it’s alive,” he says on the Astronomers’ website. Their sound is just that—a living, breathing thing, packed with every known emotion and a few newly invented ones. Take a listen, or download one of their two EPs, I Just Want to Make a Statement and I Had Plans for Us.
After a whiskey-and-smoke-break the crowd swelled to the front of the room and The Weeks appeared onstage. They may be young, but they already have the poise and presence of seasoned career musicians. As soon as they began to play, their rowdy exuberance charged through the room. Cyle Barnes has classic frontman magnetism—he stalked and crouched, belted, groaned and growled lyrics with such range and depth that it’s hard to imagine he’s had that voice since high school. The echo and thud of Cain’s drums propelled the music, while Damien two-stepped around the stage with his bass. Sam’s guitar work spanned styles from melodic pop to primal blues and Alex’s keyboard polished the sound with notes of funk and soul.
It didn’t take long to see how much The Weeks love performing, and how excited they were to be performing with one another. There was a palpable synergy among them; at times it seemed like they were playing the music from inside each other’s heads.
Their set at the Knitting Factory included selections from every era of the band’s history, from 2007 to their latest work. Their songwriting is brilliant. They can knock out single-ready tracks like Gangster’s “The House That We Grew Up In,” or “Buttons” (from their debut Comeback Cadillac), or more subtle, lyrical odes to their roots, like “Brother in the Night” or “Slave to the South.”
The Weeks are nothing if not versatile. Dream collaborations include Levon Helm, Jay-Z and Quincy Jones. After seeing them play, it’s easy to imagine that any of these pairings would produce something effortless, natural, yet unprecedented.
The band’s name comes from a street sign that was once in Cain’s bedroom, where they used to rehearse. “We had our first show and they asked for a name for the flyer,” he says. “We had this sign in our room—‘The Weeks.’ It was supposed to be temporary, but here we are. It’s lasted for seven years.”
Ever wonder what might have happened if George Harrison and John Lennon had continued taking psychadelics and making music? Check out the single “Elephant” from Tame Impala‘s latest LP Lonerism to get an idea.
Now get out there this weekend and shake your trunks just for the hell of it.
Go to Duane Reade right now and buy some sunscreen. You’re going to need it. Three days in the hot, New York City sun will leave you redder than a lobster. Why spend all that time outdoors subjecting yourself to UV rays and increasing your risk of skin cancer? The Governor’s Ball is back!
New York Music News was at the Gov Ball festival last year, bringing you video coverage of Beck playing “Where It’s At”, interviewing Australian band The Jezabels, and keeping our fingers crossed that Fiona Apple was feeling okay. The festival was a tightly run ship last year, with two stages providing a non-stop stream of great music with no overlapping sets. This year’s Gov Ball is going to be an even bigger affair, expanding to three full days, June 7, 8 and 9.
Who’s playing? With such a huge list of artists dipping into myriad genres, it’s probably easier to ask who ISN’T playing. Check out the list of artists & bands below and be sure to check back later because one mystery headliner has yet to be announced!
(Editor’s note: read through the list and then read through it at least two more times; the list is long, there are sure to be a few surprises that you missed the first time around – Animal Collective? Wild Nothing? Death From Above 1979? Best Coast? Sharing a stage with KANYE WEST???)
Tickets go on sale this Friday, January 25. Get ‘em HERE.
And like Baz Luhrmann said, don’t forget the sunscreen. Seriously.
From Wikipedia, “Most musicians who knew Johnson well, such as Johnny Shines, never heard him claim that he had sold his soul to the Devil. Different accounts give contradictory information in this regard, but there is no conclusive evidence one way or another.”
Dave Chappelle’s Block Party happened on a quiet side street at the bottom of the Clinton Hill hill in Brooklyn where the once famed Broken Angel house stood before it caught fire fire on October 10, 2006.
Here’s something to warm your little punk rock hearts. In less than a week (Jan 22), Bad Religion will release True North, their sixteenth album, following 2010′s The Dissent of Man. The next day, the band will launch a tour in support of the album. They’ll be hitting New York on March 26th (ticket presale here) at Terminal 5. If only we could reopen Coney Island High to greet them…
Is it possible the year’s best collaboration could come in the first few weeks of 2013? ASAP Rocky’s “1 Train,” from his major label debut Long Live ASAP, out today, is certainly a contender. Listen to the Harlem MC alongside Kendrick Lamar, Danny Brown, Yelawolf, Joey Bada$$ & Big K.R.I.T., and check out East Coast tour dates, including two nights at the Barclay Center in May.
Bocce wasn’t the only quality entertainment at Brooklyn’s Union Hall last Saturday night. Brooklyn band Fan-Tan‘s new year is already off and running, playing Union Hall’s intimate downstairs space, and preparing an upcoming headlining gig on Jan. 28 at Mercury Lounge (tickets here). Their first LP, entitled A Strange Game, will be released this spring on Goodnight Records.
Crazy Pills—a ’50s rock-influenced band—opened Saturday’s show. The band owes its unique sound to the throaty vocals of lead singer/guitarist Tha Kitten (though their bassist’s melodic, walking bass lines and their drummer’s strong backbeat doesn’t hurt either). You can catch them at Legion Bar on Jan. 19.
Fan-Tan took the stage next, proving once again that singer/guitarist Ryan Lee has created one of the most mesmerizing guitar tones in all of Brooklyn, complemented nicely by rhythm section Sandee K and Mike Sherburn. Headlining the show were Bridges & Powerlines, a four-piece that live up to their reputation. Their new EP, Better, will be released later this spring.
We caught up with Fan-Tan after their set and asked them about recording the LP, their plans for 2013 and if they have any New Year’s Resolutions. You can watch the interview below.
Last week at the Bowery Ballroom The London Souls kicked off a tour in support of their new album, Here Come the Girls. It is their first major tour since singer/guitarist Tash Neal’s recovery from a crippling hit-and-run accident that left him hospitalized for several months.
As soon as the show began (with “Someday”), it was evident that Tash had made a swift recovery. With his vocal and instrumental chops (and his signature red hollow-bodied guitar) intact, it was almost as if he’d never been away.
The Souls ran through old favorites (the aforementioned “Someday” and “The Sound,” featuring drummer/singer Chris St. Hillaire on vocals) and also introduced a few new songs from Here Come the Girls. With these new tracks, the Souls revealed a new side to their sound, diverging from the Zeppelin-style riff rock of songs like “She’s So Mad,” and more in the direction of the basic blues-rock, as in “Old Country Road.”
Their broadening range includes other new elements as well, with some songs recalling the crunchy melodic rock pioneered by ’70s groups like the Raspberries (before Eric Carmen went all soft), but always maintaining their signature swamp-rock style. It’s a welcome addition to the London Souls’ sound, and should help them gain some new fans from the “Waaah this hard rock is too loud” crowd.
More than an hour into the show, Tash Neal did something we’d never seen him do on stage before: he sat down to play an acoustic number. Though the crowd, energized by the booze and the hard-rocking music that came before, had a hard time quieting down, it was a treat to those who managed to hear it. It showcased Tash’s previously underused skills on the acoustic resonator guitar as well as his vocals, which are sometimes overlooked due to the sheer power of the Souls’ big sound.
For the encore, the band wished a happy 66th birthday to David Bowie with a cover of “It Ain’t Easy,” and closed with a cover of the Faces’ “Stay With Me,” which was their closer in the early days. It’s good to see them back where they belong.
Do you like books? Chances are that you do if you are a fan of indie darlings Yo La Tengo. So if you like being around books, as well as being in the company of Georgia Hubley, Ira Kaplan, and James McNew, you should totally head to the Barnes & Noble at Union Square this Monday, Jan. 14, at 7pm for a FREE show. (Actually, you should probably get there as early as possible, because in this city free events are widely attended, especially when they feature critically acclaimed but non-commercially minded rock bands.)
Don’t forget that Yo La Tengo’s new album “Fade” hits stores (of the brick & mortar and digital variety) the next day, Tuesday, Jan. 15! I’m sure they’ll remind you of this at the show more than a few times.
British glam rockers Spacehog, best known for their 90′s hit “In The Meantime,” have released a new single from their upcoming album titled As It Is On Earth. You can hear the song “Glad to Know” on Soundcloud by clicking the link below, or even better, see the band live and in person when they play Maxwell’s in Hoboken on Friday, Feb. 1st!
Girls rock. We all agree on this, right? In the year 2013, do we even have to say it out loud?
Well, in case you needed further proof, the show at Bushwick’s Shea Stadium this past Thursday night would have silenced the most hating of haters – possibly even a Fox News pundit – convincing everyone that a woman’s place is on stage brandishing a Fender Strat, not in the kitchen (unless the woman in question’s life calling is to be a vegan chef specializing in raw food, or whatever).
The only two male performers of the night made up 66.67% of opening act Hippy, a power-pop trio whose name would suggest tie-dye stage costumes and songs about rain forests; the reality is that the group takes inspiration from the vocal harmonies of the 60’s but leaves the flower power daydreaming behind. With a heavy dose of guitar crunch, they bear more sonic resemblance to Camper Van Beethoven than Buffalo Springfield, and the group’s members look more ready to attend an Occupy rally than a love-in.
Next on the bill were Heliotropes, the first of the three all-female groups to play that night. Heliotropes have a sound that is surprisingly heavy, with a slow, steady burn that recalls early 90s Seattle (I won’t use the “g” word). You can check them out (and we strongly recommend that you do) at Union Pool on January 17.
Though they weren’t the headliners, the Desert Sharks were the center of attention that night, celebrating the release of their new digital EP “Sister Cousins,” which will be released on vinyl soon. In the meantime, you can stream or download the tracks from their website.
Desert Sharks have a ferocious, surf-punk, breaking-the-speed-limit-on-a-motorcycle sound that draws easy comparisons to fellow female acts Joan Jett or The Donnas, but in truth Motley Crüe would be just as apt (minus all the macho bullshit). You can check them out when they play Cake Shop this coming Thursday, Jan. 17.
Hard Nips were the headliners, an irresistablely fun and high-energy band that makes you wish you were still small enough to jump up and down on your bed without breaking it. All four members are transplants from Japan; feel lucky that you can see them play live without having to book a business-class ticket to Tokyo, though it would be worth the trip.
Justin Timblerlake posted a video (see below) on his website with a countdown to when he will release his new album. It has been rumored that he has been working with Timbaland who produced the album. Rumors appear to be true. NYMN informant reports 20 new tracks . Keep up with the countdown here.