Saturday night of Brooklyn's Northside Festival saw me walking the few blocks from my apartment to Glasslands to catch Monogold's set. The boys have finally finished working on their new record, and they've been honing their live set over the course of a handful of well-attended local shows during the last few months. I've said it before - in a town overflowing with indie pop pretenders, Monogold's the best game in town.
The set was comprised of tracks from their splendid 2011 offering, The Softest Glow, as well as a bunch of stuff from the upcoming album. Highlights for me were the newer "Holograms" and "Under Daisies," "Dead Sea Minerals" (see above for video), and set-closer "Spirit or Something." Accompanying the performance was a series of breathtaking psychedelic projections which morphed the room into a swirling, trippy, underwater wonderland.
No word yet on a release date for the new album, but look for a repress of The Softest Glow on vinyl in the coming months, as well as a Wednesday evening Pianos residency sometime soon. I'll have updates on the album whenever I get some solid info.
See below for a recent set played by Monogold in a kitchen you may recognize......
While Williamsburg's musical landscape is dotted with seemingly countless indie pop acts, Monogold is one such band that is actually worth your time, and then some. Bringing together elements of classic indie, shimmering dreampop, shoegaze and even '50s surf, Monogold's tunes are characterized by eclectic melodicism and chill-yet-danceable tuneage.
On this night, Monogold played a late show at Knitting Factory supported by previous tour mates CHAPPO, whom I'd actually never heard perform before. CHAPPO's set consisted mainly of catchy, punchy songs which wouldn't have sounded out of place on 80s pop radio during MTV's heyday, or, say, over the closing credits of Ferris Bueller's Day Off. Fun as hell, and exactly what you want out of an opening act.
During CHAPPO's set, it became evident that this was not your typical lame-ass Williamsburg crowd. While the liberally flowing beverages (the show was actually sponsored by Jameson Black Barrel, who provided free samples) likely contributed to the festive atmosphere, this was a crowd unconcerned with the typical too-cool-for-school bullshit that chokes the Billyburg "scene." It was nice for a change to be amongst a bunch of sweaty, drunk sumbitches who came to rock the fuck out, hootin' and hollerin' to and fro all the livelong day.
Monogold took the stage just before 1 AM, opening the set with standout new track, "Holograms" (go here to see a video I shot of this song last time I saw Monogold live in December). The set was comprised mostly of new tracks from their upcoming album, including standout "Under Daisies" (see below for video), with a few old chestnuts (including "Dead Sea Minerals" and "Spirit or Something" from 2011's The Softest Glow. The crowd's rowdiness didn't relent - beer was spilled, "WOOOOOOOOO!!!"s were shouted, and rugs were cut. Good shit all around!
Had the pleasure of catching Brooklyn's own Monogold at Mercury Lounge a few weeks back - very enjoyable set which mixed songs from their upcoming album and some favorites from 2011's The Softest Glow. Above is a video I took of one of said new songs, the driving, punchy "Holograms." Great stuff guys!
Anyway, if you enjoyed the above clip, Monogold will be playing twice in March at Knitting Factory Brooklyn - March 2nd, and March 30th, so check 'em out out.
3 nights, 3 shows. Ain't no thang / that's how I roll, beetchez.
So, we got to Lit a bit early, and headed across the street to Kabin, one of my least favorite bars in NYC... my show-going buddy was already trashed so I had some serious catch-up to do. Several pints later (and, regrettably, a 'conversation' about evolution with a gravely-misinformed, semi-literate racist piece of garbage later) we headed back over to Lit and down to the basement.
I had missed Aminal's set when a buddy's band played with them at UC Lounge about a month ago. Anyway, tonight I caught the full set, and these bastards have got some honest to gawd straight motherfuckin' TALENT. I'm not going to tidily try to pigeonhole their music into one convenient category, because I'm pretty sure that would be missing the point entirely. Instead, what I was hearing veered chaotically between prog, funk metal, and some parts that reminded me of all the alternative rock radio I listened to in the '90s. Needless to say, I enjoyed the shit out of it.
At some point in or around summer '07 [uh, I think?] I was totally obsessed with Come's fantastic first album, 11:11. I'm pretty sure that said obsession coincided with the bizarre period of my life where I was running a door factory out on Long Island, which makes perfect sense because 11:11 is pretty damned bleak and disheartening at points (although it still manages to rock), and working at a door factory is fucking depressing shit, especially when your boss is a vicious wifebeating multiple felon scumbag. Anyway.
I totes missed out on Come the first time around during the '90s. Actually got into their shit when I saw Thalia Zedek open up for Dinosaur Jr in '05. Over the years I've seen Zedek's sol0 band several times. So, it's pretty safe to say that I celebrate Ms. Zedek's entire catalog, and I was pretty psyched when I randomly noticed that Come would be playing Bell House.
Got there towards the end of the opening act, D. Charles Speer, who were just finishing their set of what seemed to be uptempo rockabilly instrumentals. No complaints from me there.
Eleventh Dream Day took what seemed like forever setting their gear up. Not gonna lie, I really didn't care for their music. Most of it sounded like tired '90s tropes, and the stuff that didn't totally suck sounded like Neil Young retreads. Meh.
Come's set, however, did the trick. Much to my delight, they performed over half of11:11, also reaching back to several other notable highlights from their career (including personal favorite "In / Out" from Don't Ask Don't Tell). Zedek's raspy vocals effectively clawed their way into the mix somewhere between her own insistent, hard-driving chording and the more twangy, bluesy riffing of Chris Brokaw, with the ensuing turmoil driven onward by drummer Arthur Johnson's shifting rhythms. This was EXACTLY what I thought the Come live experience would be like. Well done.
[See directly below for the setlist.]
My third time seeing Monogold this year, and I figured "what the hey" and threw down accordingly. I had a feeling that my exhaustion would combine with Monogold's heavily reverbed poppiness and the splendid acoustics of the room at Union Pool to create a superior listening experience, and I was right. Yay!
Hmmmmm... today has some sort of significance, but I'm a bit foggy as to what that could be....
Yes, I'm pissed about Mogwai canceling their NYC dates, but fret not. I still get to see the Raveonettes Thursday night at Music Hall, Austerity Program with The Netherlands at Charleston Friday, and Crocodiles Saturday at Music Hall. Check them shitz out, y'all's.
So, recently, I attended 7 show in 6 days, as mentioned above. Not too shabby a showing, if I do say so myself... in fact, that might actually be a personal record of some sort. [On that tip, who th' fuck knows / cares.] Over said 7 shows and 6 days, a ton of bands were seen (including Godspeed You! Black Emperor, Colin Stetson, Harvey Milk, Occultation, Fang Island, Hollerado, Monogold, Goes Cube, Austerity Program, Rosetta, Naam, Liquor Store, Wild Yaks), comical quantities of beverages were consumed, acquaintances were renewed with old friends, and an unfair amount of fun was had. Frankly, I have no clue how I managed to avoid getting really sick / throwing my back out / collapsing due to sheer exhaustion throughout this whole debacle because, let's face, it, I'm no spring chicken.
Anyway, deets onward:
Goes Cube, Austerity Program, Rosetta and Naam at Studio at Webster Hall, Wednesday March 9, 2011
Met up with my buddy Jimmy Dogshit for some booze (including appletinis, an unfortunate tradition of ours) and mediocre burgers at the Pour House. Our waitress resembled a wholesomer version of British pornstar McKenzie Lee. That's all I'm'a say about that.
Rolled up to Studio towards the end of Naam's set. Wish I had more to report on these guys (because I've been told they're worthwhile), but sadly I don't.
Rosetta was up next, and they lived up to their reputation as being "the hardest band in the world to mic." Their set at Santos in January opening up for Kylesa during one of the blizzards really converted me from "casual fan" to "ardent admirer who has no qualms shirking responsibilities to go out and see 'em on a random weeknight." The sound sucked ass (I know, unusual for a Studio show) but the sweaty performance made up for it.
Let's just say I enjoyed a few beverages. When I got home late night, I noticed that for some reason I had 7 empty plastic shot glasses in my pocket. "THESE'LL COME IN HANDY!" As mentioned earlier, a shabby performance by me this was not.
Austerity Program's set was next, and allow me to report (it ain't no secret): the house was thoroughly ROCKED. They played the entirety of their fucking stellar EP from last year, Backsliders and Apostates Will Burn, as well as "Song 20" and... uhhhh... was that it? Fuck, I don't remember, but let me tell ya, it sure made for great drunken thrashing around.
Goes Cube finished off the evening with exactly the type of skullfuckingly brutal performance that I've come to expect from them since I started seeing them live 5 years ago. [Goddamn, how many times have I seen these guys live? 15? 20? I'm not in Brooklyn at the time of this writing so I can't consult Tuddd Archives for the answer, but it's somewhere up there. [edit: apparently it's 15 times, although that assumes that Tuddd Archives is actually accurate, which is highly unlikely.] Shee-itt.] Anyway, their set drew liberally from what seemed like all of their most recent releases: 2009's Another Day Has Passed LP, last year's 7", the digital recording from Coextinction Recordings, and, of course, their forthcoming LP, In Tides and Drifts (which ain't out yet, but which, of course, I dorkily pre-ordered). With Goes Cube singer / guitarist David no longer living in NYC, I wasn't expecting the set to be as tight as it was, and the great sonics of the Studio space really highlighted Kenny's superb drumming and Matt nimbly holding down the low end. Obviously I'm a huge fan of these guys' music, and it was great to hear that this was the brand of fury they'd be truckin' down to SXSW. RAWK.
Anyway, tried to spit game with two Norwegian (uh, I think?) chicks post-show / failed miserably / wound up drinking Heinekens in the back of a cab during the ride home. Woo Fucking Hoo.
Liquor Store at Death by Audio, Thursday, March 10, 2011
Nuff. Fucking. Said.
Friday, March 11th: Monogold at Glasslands AND Fang Island at Bowery Ballroom.
Well, not really. Actually it's more about the combination of lucky scheduling and way too much time on my hands than anything else. But nonetheless, I'm not exactly sure when the last time was that I pulled off attending two shows in one day. Hmmmm. It might have possibly been in September '06 when I saw Mastodon at Webster Hall early, then Comets on Fire at Knitting Factory late. Not gonna lie, that was pretty fucking badass. ('Twas a good day indeed.) Anyhow, the way this night shook out, I already had tix for Fang Island at Bowery, but I figured out I'd check out Monogold's early opening set at Glasslands before heading in to Manhattan, knowing that Monogold would be setting out in the van and driving down towards South by Southwest literally the moment their set was over. Good shit.
I first saw Monogold's live show at their Public Assembly record release show in mid-January - holy shitballs are they a good band, and man, was that a fun night. They have a "current"-ish Williamsburg indie pop sound without the overbearing tweeness of The Pains of Being Pure at Heart or Grizzly Bear or whoever, while creating well-crafted, tuneful music that makes the kids want to shake they shit. I've also been enjoying the bejeezus out of their newest album, The Softest Glow, as a nice change of pace from the usual steady diet of Melvins > Sleep > Melvins > Sleep > Melvins > Sleep playlist that more often than not can be found blaring out of my car stereo.
Monogold's set on this night was great, as it had been the first time I saw 'em. Frankly, they're another band that proves that I Don't Know Jack Shit About What Makes Music Popular, because they should be fucking huge. My personal favorites from the set were "Dead Sea Minerals" and "Ivory Tusk, Golden Teeth"... check below for studio versions of these two sick motherfuckin' jams:
I wished the gents my best on their SXSW journey and basically ran the fuck out of Glasslands the moment their set was done, heading southward back to my apartment briefly for a quick power-up / pit stop. Sadly, this brief (yet hyper-necessary) dalliance meant that I'd get to Bowery towards the end of opening band Hollerado's set, which I regretted; I'd seen them open up for (and blow away) Black Lips (who fucking blow) in this same room in September '07. Anyway, by the time I stumbled into Bowery, Hollerado was in the middle of a positively rippin' jam based on ZZ Top's "La Grange," and they looked to be having a great fucking time... again, I wish I had made it there a bit earlier, goddamn it.
Snuck way up front amongst the assembled 12 year-olds for Fang Island's set. Of course, I'm on record as being a Fang Island booster from way back in the day. Don't believe me? Here's a short, sweet, and to the the point list of accolades I've heaped on these guys:
First time I saw them live was in 2008, opening for Chairlift at Music Hall of Williamsburg, and I loved 'em instantly.
Second time I saw them live, in April '10 at Maxwell's, uhhhhh... looks like I didn't write them up or anything that time around, but my buddy OattJerk shot this video of "Daisy" at the show. Honest Injun.
When it came time compile a list of my favorite songs of 2010, Fang Island scored the year's top slot, with an unprecendented *four* songs in the Top 25. Impressive!
And, as befitting an album with so many fantastic songs, Fang Island's Fang Island topped my "Best Albums of 2010" list. It's also one of the ten best albums of all time by anyone.
Right on cue, this night's Fang Island set was somethin' special. In fact, my only real complaint about the previous two times I'd seen them -- sour vocals -- seems to have been largely remedied. And the larger Bowery stage allowed the three guitarists ample room to bust out some hilariously over the top ARENA RAWK stage moves. The setlist consted of most of songs from Fang Island (YAY!), with few older ones and one new one thrown in... I was hoping they'd have six Andrew W.K.s come out to reprise his glorious quasi-operatic vocal coda from "Patterns on the Wall" but alas it wasn't to be... regardless, even without that highly unlikely occurrence going down, this was one of the finest sets that I've seen all year.
OK, naptime. I will try to get a post up about Saturday / Sunday / Monday's shows and goings on but I can't promise anything... heading to Costa Rica on Wednesday for what's sure to be the Douchiest Bachelor Party Ever With the Douchiest Group of Douches That Ever Douched. Tuddd out.