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Moritat @ Double Door

The debut ep from Moritat, One Minute Fade, is being released tomorrow, June 10th, at Double Door. The trio of Venus Laurel (vocals, piano), Konstantin Jace (bass), and Corey McCafferty (drums) create a sound that creative and rather wide-reaching. There are strong traces of early nineties bands like Belly, Throwing Muses, and even a touch of Sonic Youth, but there is also a compelling instrumental stretches that show they have absorbed many of the current Chicago sounds. Their album was recorded at home, but has a great sound.

All fans attending the release show on June 10th at Double Door will receive a free copy of the ep. The album will be also be available through the band's website both digitally and physically.

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CD Review: Big Science

I’ll let you in on a little secret: lazy journalists love when a band wears its influences on its sleeve. Hipper-than-thou critics savor any opportunity to dismiss a group as unoriginal, and if anything, it makes the band easy to categorize.

You can safely assume that the members of Big Science have listened their fair share of INXS and Joy Division, but it’d be too easy for me to write off their Skyscraper Sound EP as a piece of New Wave nostalgia. There are no faux-British accents here, and the band has managed to wave their post-punk flag proudly without beating you over the head with it. Sure, “Burn All Night” would fit in quite nicely on thePretty in Pink soundtrack, but it still manages to sound contemporary.

On Skyscraper Sound, Jason Hendrix, Jeremy Peña, Jason Richards and Jason Clark create an interesting balance, combining lush, complex sounds with simple hooks. “Stairs Up Stairs Down” kicks things off with an extremely danceable groove before shifting to some big harmonies.

The real gem of the EP is “Flags,” a soaring track that leaves the listener torn between rocking out or standing still and taking it all in. Each member of the band is on the top of his game here, and the vocals from Hendrix and Richards shine.

A good EP should encapsulate a group’s sound and leave people wanting more, and with its unique twists on a classic genre, Skyscraper Sound does just that.

Skyscraper Sound will be released on June 29th and you can catch Big Science at Metronome Festival on “The Punk Stage” on June 13th. - Bonnie Stiernberg

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Best of NYC #38: Hospitality

We continue our "Best of NYC Countdown", covering every day one of the artists that made our Year End Best of NYC list (a chart compiled by a jury comprised of local bloggers, music writers, promoters, record store personnel and DJs).

After hearing Hospitality’s soundcheck, singer-songwriter Karl Blau offered to record the trio’s music in exchange for serving as his backing band for a few shows. The result of this unusual barter is the band's self titled EP, which features six poppy, captivating songs recorded on a 4-track. It’s difficult not to fall for Hospitality’s charms.: the lo-fi songs project such warmth through Amber Papini’s tender vocals and charismatic melodies, that bear a hint of ‘60s nostalgia. Although their songs are infused with a darling amount of sweetness, their roughness in the recording department balance things out - they recorded some tracks using the telephone as their only microphone! (That's what we call "no-fi".) Well, those tunes still sound surprisingly awesome. - Nancy Chow

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Grand Lake, Casper and the Cookies, Aquaserge @ The Rickshaw 4/29/10

Who still wants to write about a show that happened a month ago? This guy.

I'd heard locals Grand Lake were popular around these parts, and so I was surprised when there wasn't more than 15 people at the Rickshaw Stop on that distant memory of a Thursday evening. It was a real shame, because they put on an amazing show opening for Casper and the Cookies and Aquasurge. Grand Lake's performance was a crazy trip through an array of emotions, twirling the small audience from happy up-beat rock to anxious, swelling spaces of lyrical honesty.

Equally comfortable doling out dark, pulsing beats and minimalist bass lines (with long stretches of anticipation between excellent vocals) or exploding with sweet, hopeful alt-rock, Grand Lake is a wild ride. The entire act was very well put together; energetic throughout, with an ultimately optimistic vibe and enthusiastic drumming that would have excited a larger audience into bouncy dancing. Grand Lake really stole the show for me, and I wholeheartedly recommend them.

Casper and the Cookies came up next featuring Jason NeSmith (formerly of Of Montreal) sporting a mustard yellow jacket that matched the mustard yellow bass guitar that kept switching hands. Casper's talented 3-singer harmonies and relentless pop-rock dance-beat drumming actually did get some people moving by the very end of their set, a testament to the hyperactive fun pouring from their stage. Continuing the high-energy trend set by Grand Lake, Casper and the Cookies were impressive and downright jolly.

Last we had Aquaserge, who were interesting but a little bland. They were trying pretty hard to trip the audience out, with five yelping vocalists, sharp, dissonant keys, and driving drums under inflating guitar narratives. Their music was trying to put me ill-at-ease, with occasionally flat singing and repetitive, swelling noise, coming at any given time from the bassist, the drummer, or the keyboards. They succeeded in creating an interesting sound-scape, but failed at being particularly compelling for me. When I'm given an ocean of sound, I tend to fall asleep on my inner-tube, no matter how deep and mysterious the water is.

Here's to a more regular schedule -- I'm almost positive I have three and a half readers, and I'm sure they were worried about me. I'm touched, honestly.

 

-Kyle Wheat

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June 2010
Blue Giant
"Blue Giant
"
mp3

To say the self-titled debut album from Portland's Blue Giant is great would be a huge understatement. I was immediately captivated from the first track to the last, as if I just took a long walk through the woods.

The vast amount of instruments and weaving vocal harmonies gives a strong narrative to the entire album, creating a very cinematic listen - allowing the listener to wade through a lush landscape of sound and intricacy.

Husband and wife Anita and Kevin Robertson - along with Chris Funk, Seth Lorinczi, and Evan Railton - have formed this "supergroup" from their vast catalogue of wonderful projects, and have created a beautiful follow up to their Target Heart EP.

A standout track is "Clean the Clock." The song is wonderfully crafted with driving acoustic guitar, strong electric guitar leads and stronger vocal patterns supporting them. The song moves into very different places, shifting through natural ebbs and flows, all while keeping a general theme and referencing different parts of the piece.

One of my favorite things about the album is how the songs bleed into each other, demanding the audience consume the album as a whole. I highly encourage everyone to give this album is a listen!

- Stirling Myles

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