Archive for High Places

No Age, High Places, and Fiasco @ The Bowery Ballroom. Tuesday May 6th, 2008.

Posted in music, shows, Tom with tags , , , on May 12, 2008 by criticalreviews

Tuesday was a day of celebration. KLK presented her thesis, I took a half day off of work, and No Age released their first full length Nouns. We got to the show about ten after nine, and unfortunately Fiasco was already playing.

I had read about Fiasco on Oh My Rockness:

The young band is comprised of three mid-teenage guys from Brooklyn who (so far) seem to have grown up listening to all the right stuff. They especially like Sonic Youth’s feedback madness, Lightning Bolt’s distorted bass messiness, and Shellac’s scratchy rawness.
Make no mistake, this is punk rock. But there’s definitely a Strokes-y element to their vocals that make their noise pretty melodic, too.

Those are big words for a band that is so young (probably no older than 18), but they were great and played really well despite the fact that they kept making the “We Suck” joke (they might be young and insecure, but they are really fun to watch …I guess being insecure is better than being cocky). Their music is definitely punk, but almost more appropriately could be called chaotic rock. Besides the influences sited I definitely felt some Nirvana, Q and Not U, and Black Eyes in their music too. The guitarist, Jonathan Edelstein, and bassist, Lucian Buscemi, switched up instruments while playing, and both sang too. Their set up was interesting with drummer, Julian Bennett Holmes, up front while Edelstein was playing toward the back of the stage. For a young band they are doing really interesting things musically, including Edelstein doing some innovative finger tapping (utilizing this technique for both technical rifs, as well as making dancey beats). I was totally impressed with them musically, and if these kids are this good now I can’t wait to see what they turn into over the next couple of years. While they were playing there were a bunch of teens moshing up front (the show was 16+ and rightfully so), they were fun to watch and fairly courteous to the already really packed crowd.

High Places played second and, I am sad to say, was the least exciting act of the night. I have heard a couple people say recently that they “really like high places, but they don’t really do it for them live.” And while I love High Places I can definitely see this . I enjoy seeing them play, but after a couple of times their performances start to run together in my mind. Honestly they were all pretty much the same…a couple tracks off of the digital download, and a bunch of new stuff…so much the same that I am starting to recognize some of the new songs that haven’t been released yet. I’ll continue to buy their releases, and see them live, but I’m not sure that High Places alone can bring me out to a show (yet their full length coming out on Thrill Jockey is still one of the albums that I am anticipating most this year!). For more of my thoughts on High Places go here or here.

No Age had a big Tuesday, playing their album release show to a sold out Bowery Ballroom. I got the impression that they wouldn’t have been playing here if Todd P was in town, because they even mentioned that he was in Central America (not sure if this was commentary on the show not being all ages). Todd P or not the show was still a blast, and everyone was dancing within seconds of the first song.

I am honestly a fairly recent fan of No Age. I saw one of their music videos on New York Noise, and have listened to the music on their websites(I liked them right off the bat, and had even considered ordering some of their eps from Upset the Rhythm) , but had not bought anything until Nouns. For those who haven’t checked them out yet…No Age is a drum and guitar duo (Randy Randall and Dean Allen Spunt) that play noisy experimental rock, some might call it punk but I think that is more of the attitude that the band has than the sound (don’t really sound like Times New Viking, but I would love to see them play together).

No Age, honestly seemed a little older in person than I expected them to be (they look super young in these press photos), and this was refreshing because I was starting to feel old after seeing Fiasco (I’m only 24).

There was a pretty big mosh pit, and for the most part it was courteous…there were some lame people that weren’t being considerate: knocking down girls who were dancing, and pretty much acting like a gorilla (reminded me of some of the meat ball hardcore shows I went to when I was in middle school). Despite the couple lame people in the pit No Age is one of the most fun bands I have seen live in a quite a while. They play loud, hard, and fast…I think it would have been hard not to be bouncing around a little during their set. I’m really excited that they will be playing at South Street Seaport on Friday July 11th with Abe Vigoda (and unfortunately Telepathe). This summer is looking pretty good.


No Age “Eraser” off of Nouns

No Age live at Other Music!

Listen to High Places!

Listen to Fiasco here!

Photo Credits:

No Age at Bowery Ballroom by Staticsilence (via vlickr)

Fiasco at the Silent Barn by this meik (via flickr)

*Sorry about the lack in posting…it has been a busy two weeks. I hope to be back up to normal posting speed this week.


High Places, Ecstatic Sunshine, Cex, and Evangelista @ Market Hotel. Friday April 18th, 2008.

Posted in music, shows, Tom with tags , , , , , , , , , on April 22, 2008 by criticalreviews

I’m getting this up a little later than I had hoped…sorry about the delay.

So this was my first experience at the Market Hotel, and I have to say that I was really impressed. I had heard stories about how it was way too smoky, and whatnot, but they put an end to smoking in the room where the bands play…and it was over all really enjoyable. The space really great, and plenty of room for everyone.

We got to the show right around 10pm, and Evangelista (Carla Bozulich of the Geraldine Fibbers new band) started shortly after. So I picked the new album Hello, Voyager when it came out (klk had heard a track off of it on WNYU, and then TMT gave it a really killer review), and I really enjoy the album. I wasn’t familiar with her earlier work, but later picked up the first record, which was released as Carla Bozulich’s Evangelista, which was also really good (I am still unfamiliar with Bozulich’s previous bands, but I am throughly enjoying Evangelista). Evangelista played as seven piece on Friday night. Their set started off noisy and atmospheric, with Bozulich on the floor. This part of the set was really cool, and I wish so many people hadn’t just talked through it…it was really distracting during something that could have been extremely beautiful. Bozulich emerged from her slumber on the floor and the band began to rock…it was no longer easy to ignore their presence. Bozulich is an intense figure, a bit belligerent, and really fun to watch. She storms through the crowd dancing, and singing and intimidating people. The band was a bit more of a rock band than I expected…but now thinking back on it I don’t know why I wasn’t expecting it…Evengelista pretty much sounded like they do on record, only bigger and more in your face…grungy and dark. It was kinda crazy that they were the opening act (they can easily headline a show). We were going to go see Evangelista again the next night as well at Cake Shop, but opted for Kids in The Hall in stead. I’m glad I got to see them when they were in town, and I sure they were great at Cake Shop too.

Cex played second. It was pretty much an electronic/DJish set. People were dancing. This was my second time seeing Cex play (he has sounded extremely different both times I have seen him…the first time it was a hip hop set). I know some people really dig him, but it’s just not my thing.

Next was Ecstatic Sunshine. I was unfamiliar with them (except the bits and pieces I had heard on the internet), but I knew that they recently had a line up change (going from a four piece to a three piece). They play instrumental stonery psychedelic rock. So I know that string of adjectives can lump them in many categories, and I will try to elaborate. Live they were really loud and droney…very much a wall of sound…but on the recordings they appear to be much more intricate, atmospheric, and gentle. I enjoyed their set, but I wasn’t as fully immersed in the music as I would have liked to have been (next time I am going to try to be as close to the band as possible). Ecstatic Sunshine played a short set, but they were much harder than I was expecting from the recorded material I have heard (their record label even says that they are still a punk band at heart). I will definitely try to catch them the next time they come back to New York…I sense that there are even more interesting psychedelic things to come from these guys.

High Places headlined the show, and by this point I was kinda drunk. This was my second time seeing the band, and I was still as excited as the first. Their set was very similar to the first time that I saw them…they only played two or three songs off of the emusic download, and rocked out quite a bit. I know that since I started writing here I have been pushing High Places, but their music is truly wonderful. Rob really goes crazy while on stage, and Mary’s voice is just beautiful. Although the crowd wasn’t moving that much we were all dancing, until there was an abrupt stop in the music…something fucked up with the sound system. Before the slight technical problem High Places songs were long and great for dancing (I had read that they were trying to make it so the songs didn’t stop as soon as people got into it, and it appears that they have been successful in this)…totally fun…but after the problem with the sound they only played two more songs, and they were both short….still really fun though.

Despite the technical difficulties High Places were once again amazing, and so was the show over all. I’m really glad that I finally made it out to the Market Hotel (and hope to go back there again soon). Two comments on the venue…if coming from the L Train…make sure you know exactly where you are going (or be with someone who knows where they are going, not just says that they know where they are going)….and also the bathrooms at the Market Hotel are a bit rough (especially for girls)…they do not lock, and people can look over the door….it would be a great investment for them to install some simple latch locks on the doors (who knows maybe I will do it next time)…it would be a much better experience for everyone.

The great photos are by Georgai Kral (via flickr)! (click here or on any of the photos to go to her flickr)


Caff/Flick Records: Mailorder and Podcasts

Posted in mailorder, music, podcasts, records, Tom, website with tags , , , , , , , , , , , on April 5, 2008 by criticalreviews

So a while ago I was looking to find any of the High Places records (I know I have been talking about them a lot lately), but after turning up empty handed in the record stores I turned to mailorder. I found that Caff/Flick put out the picture disc for “Shared Islands/Universe,” and that they were still available (this is a collaboration series with David Horvitz whose photos appear on the record). Normally I wouldn’t mailorder all the way from England, because the conversion rate is so bad (the 7″ cost £5, and with shipping this came to almost $15 US…the US dollar is pretty much crap right now). Luckily I had a credit on my paypal from when it got hacked.

I was a little confused when I got the email receipt…I wasn’t sure what exactly I had just ordered. The receipt said:

Item Number: CF/F03 + CF/F04RR
Quantity: 1
Total: £5.00 GBP

So I emailed the label to ask what it was that I was actually purchasing…I wanted to make sure that I was getting the High Places 7″. I got the response from Caff/Flick:

“Lucky D is on special offer so you get it plus High Places for the price of one! You should receive within 2-3 working weeks. Thanks, CF.”

So I already had a good vibe from these guys. Not only did they make amazing looking records, but they are really nice and are giving me a super limited 7″ by Lucky Dragons as well (also in the David Horvitz picture disc series). Since these were coming from the UK I was expecting them to take the whole three weeks, but they showed up at my door in about two. Caff/Flick really cares about their records, and ships their 7″s in a perfectly sized mailer. I was overall really impressed with the label.

The records are beautiful, and sound wonderful!

This week I got an email from Caff/Flick saying that there was a new podcast up on their website that was curated by K Records. I didn’t see the podcasts when I was initially on the website, but they are there. There are a couple of them by Caff/Flick records, but the rest are curated by Tomlab, High Places, Lucky Dragons, Upset the Rhythm, David Horvitz, and Champagne Diamond/ The Brilliant Light…and they are all free. I love hearing what other people are into, and this lets me into the stereo of some musicians and record labels that I really respect! These have been on my ipod for most of the week: Check it out!

Pictures of the 7″s are from Caff/Flick Records and David Horvitz!


Health, Ghengis Tron, High Places, and Telepathe @ The Knitting Factory. Monday March 31st, 2008.

Posted in music, shows, Tom with tags , , , , , , , on April 2, 2008 by criticalreviews

Another great line up on a weeknight. I am really loving seeing these bills with a whole lot of good bands for a really great price…this show was only $8 bucks.

Up first was Telepathe…they were already playing when we got there, but judging by the set times we got to see about half of their set. I was excited to see this band at first because I saw that they are going to be opening for the Kills (not that I will be going…I hate Webster Hall, but I really like the Kills). Their music has a synthy dark avant electronic feel (almost minimalistic dance music), and vocals range from singing to chatty banter (with up to all three of the women singing at once). Live I really can’t say that they did much for me at all…and while I know that they were on a bill with three really rad bands that should be nothing compared to having to open for the Kills on their upcoming tour. I think that I heard one of the ladies on stage mention that they were missing a member, but even with that taken into consideration their stage presence just wasn’t there…nothing that made me want to stay and watch. Maybe they were having an off night or something.

Second was High Places…I will say I have never seen this many people at a venue to see the second out of four bands…it was clear that they had a really big draw, and I bought tickets for this show before Health and Ghengis Tron were even added (High Places was the motivating factor). Their set consisted of only two songs from the emusic digital download, and those songs were played first and last. The rest of the set consisted of new songs (which I assume are going to be part of the full length that was discussed here). If you haven’t heard High Places they make music that is both minimalistic and primitive, but at the same time totally enthralling and interesting …they are beat heavy, both digital and actual drumming, accompanied electronics and lots of bells, rocks, shakers, marbles, and pretty much anything you can think of. It results in upbeat music with a slightly tropical vibe that will just suck you in. I pretty much have a crush on both Mary Pearson and Rob Barber…and they are both a pleasure to watch preform. Rob is so into the music, and playing so many different things at once, that the sweat is just pouring off of his face. While Mary, with her beautiful voice, is messing with it (her voice) electronically (while having to move around Rob while doing so), and playing a handful of assorted makeshift instruments . My only complaint about their set, and this has nothing to do with them at all, but I was that I could really see what Rob was doing (and this is a problem going to a show with a stage, although you can see the band better you can’t really see what the band is doing all the time, so I can’t wait for the show at Market Hotel). The new songs that High Places played were rad, and I am expecting big things to come.

Ghengis Tron was next, and I honestly had no idea who they were until their name popped up on this show. My first impression of the band was when I went to check them out their mspace and the song “Board up the House” started…I was like this is weird, and digital, and I look to the bottom of the window and it says Relapse records…it was only a matter of seconds before the metal kicked in. At this point I was more interested in seeing them than I had been. Live G Tron has a really kinda crazy set up. They are a three piece: a guitarist, a singer who also plays keys, and a guy that only plays keyboard…no drummer. They have about five or six, what look light they could be florescent light bulbs standing tall set up behind them, that strobe all different colors, and overall have a very visual preformance for a three piece metal band. G Tron was definitely the band that was most out of place on the bill, but they rocked really hard…my biggest surprise was that there didn’t seem to be that many people were moshing (which is something that characterizes a metal show for me…I can only imagine how awesome it would have been seeing G Tron play with Converge and Baroness the next night). I really dig the hippie style art that G Tron has chosen as well…their new record looks beautiful.

Last up was Health, and I am really happy that I got to see them play twice while they were in NYC. When I saw them play at Mercury Lounge last week they were really good, but at this show they were just really spot on. They played really hard, and to me just seemed overall tighter. These boys from LA did well even when some NY kids were heckling. There was a nice mix of moshing and dancing from the crowd. To my surprise the bass player had all of the stings on this bass this time (which makes me wonder if it was just laziness last Wednesday with just three strings). Health played for almost an hour, and ended right before midnight. I think they would have played longer, but the bass drum busted which really limited what they could do. It would have been rad to make it out to the show with Dan Deacon the next night, but I didn’t quite have it in me.

Here is a fun unofficial video of “Sandy Feat” by High Places (by namustang):

Download the Emusic Digital Download of High Places Here!

Posters are from the Knitting Factory

High Places photo from Tiny Mix Tapes