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The Dodos and No Kids @ The Mercury Lounge. Sunday April 6th, 2008.

Posted in music, shows, Tom with tags , , , , , , , , , , on April 8, 2008 by criticalreviews

I am not sure when this show got announced, but it sold out fast. On Tuesday I went down to the Mercury Lounge Box Office to buy tickets for it. I got all the way down there to find out that the show had sold out the day before, and that they had not had a chance to update the website (bummer). I thought all hope was lost for this show…but I had a stroke of luck. I was ridding the 1 Train home from work on Thursday (which I don’t normally do), and my phone rang while the train was underground. KLK had called to tell me WNYU was giving tickets away for the Dodos show. I was like “I’m underground I don’t know what I can do” (she would have called but she had already won tickets from WNYU this month). So when the train stopped at 145th Street I ran out of the train and up the steps….my phone is ringing and ringing….WNYU answers, and I ask “Have you given the Dodos tickets away yet?” and she was like “No, what’s your name?” So we still got to go even though the show sold out(sorry Leah).

We got to the show while Silje Nes was still on stage. She played guitar and had a drummer backing her. Her music was pretty (as was she). She layered her guitar tracks on a loop pedal crafting her songs. Other than the song that she was playing when we walked in (which was pretty rocking, and although she was sitting down she was still thrashing), her songs were slightly anticlimactic, but very pleasant. The loops didn’t quite build up into something more…the songs remained pretty minimalistic, not that this was a bad thing, I was just expecting the songs to keep building rather than breaking back down (when I think about it though this concept of building a song and breaking it down before the finish interests me). I can’t say too much more other than I think I would enjoy seeing her play again.

Next up was No Kids.

So the first time I saw Nick Krgovich was at the live preformance of Worried Noodles by David Shrigley at the Knitting Factory, and he was preforming with Phil Elverum. I was instantly intrigued by him. Not only was he collaborating with Elverum, but he has a sweet soulful R&B voice (ala Prince). The collaboration between the two was amazing, and I immediately looked into his band, No Kids. No Kids is Krgovich (keyboard), Julia Chirka (keyboards) and Justin Kellam (drums), all of whom were formerly in P:ano (whom I am not all that familiar with but am eager to look into).

No Kids jumped on the Dodos bill on their day off from being on tour with the Dirty Projectors (both of whom are playing at the Music Hall of Williamsburg on Wednesday). So they might have been just another keyboard rock band, but this band is so entirely unique that there isn’t anything quite like them going on right now (and if we hadn’t seen Krgovich play with Elverum we probably would have missed it). Live Julia and Justin are great musicians, but I really feel that Krgovich steals the show…not only with his voice, but his dancing…which I can say is second only to Calvin Johnson when it comes to indie rockers that can break moves. I might even say that my dream dance off would be Krgovich verses Johnson (where they choose the songs for each other….but this is far off in my dreams where they are dancing on clouds).

No Kids were actually really funny in between songs…including talking a little about their bad experience with Princeton frat boys, and even noting to the crowd that their world music tinged songs were “written before you know who” and noting their “Ivy League” vibe (ohhhh Vampire Weekend).

I feel like a lot of the reviews that I have read of the recent No Kids record Come Into My House (on Tomlab) rely far to heavily on a comparison between the member’s old band: P:ano. It’s not that I think it shouldn’t be noted that they were in what all of these reviewers consider a really great band previously, but you can’t expect a band to reproducing something that they have obviously moved on from (hence the new name). I almost feel like this album would have went over much better with reviewers if P:ano hadn’t existed, but whatever…I’m loving it. I was originally a little disappointed when Come Into My House was released because the CD came out way before the LP, but I was happy to pick it up from the band last night.

It was clear by the end of No Kids set that some of the people that were there to see the Dodos were getting a little impatient, but that was Ok with me…some people just might not be ready for the sexy voice of Krgovich, but we were…and we will be happy to see No Kids again on Wednesday.

The Dodos were up next. We had been given a heads up about these guys by our friend Cat who lives in San Francisco…and then a week and a half later they get best new music on Pitchfork. So I kinda had high expectations, and I was not disappointed. The Dodos set up was, for the most part, a duo with Meric Long playing mostly acoustic guitar and Logan Kroeber on drums…the stage set up has Long on a chair on the left side, and Kroeber’s drum set pulled up the the front of the stage (equally in the spotlight). They were backed occasionally by another gentleman who played xylophone, and a toy piano among other instruments. The intense folk sounds of The Dodos were absolutely tremendous, and they play with the fury of a punk band. I haven’t see a band produce as much sweat as The Dodos did in a really long time. I am really glad that I got to see them at a place as small as the Mercury Lounge. This is one of those bands that I think is going to get really big really fast. They are great both live and recorded. And I believe they deserve this…they are accessible and extremely innovative at the same time (this band is going to find itself a huge fan base while keeping music dorks, like me, interested). Musically The Dodos pull from an extremely large range of influences from Animal Collective to more traditional folk (I personally see a bit of old Mountain Goats or Billy Bragg), punk (even if it is just the speed and energy that these two guys put into their live music), blues, and even to The Magnetic Fields(see the song “Undeclared” if you think this is a stretch). They played for about an hour, which included a three song encore. The set consisted mostly of songs off of the new French Kiss release Visitor, but there were several songs played that I was unfamiliar with (new or old not totally sure). I have seen quite a few shows this year so far, but the Dodos and No Kids put on one of the best so far.

I don’t think that anyone who could physically see the Dodos, which might have been hard for some people both Long and Kroeber sit down while playing, would disagree that this band is great live, and their intensity can be matched by very few other acts out today.

The Dodos also had copies of the limited press of Visitor that French Kiss put out on white double LP (it looks wonderful).

I look forward to seeing The Dodos play again, but I am sure that it will be in a much large space, and that this show (I say this very sadly) may be the best show I ever see them play. It was just that good.


The Dodos “Fools” video

NO KIDS “The Beaches All Closed”:

Photos from Drew Katchen/


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!