to www.underratedmagazine.com. Update your bookmarks and favorites, and we'll see you there!
Monday, April 17, 2006
Friday, April 14, 2006
Ok, one more post, which subsequently will be the last post EVER on the underrated blog as you see it here. Let's all cry for a little while. But then rejoice cause you are going to kiss your computer screens when you see the new site. Keep your fingers crossed that everything works out this weekend. K? Cool.
So my iPod died. Sad. Also means that my bus ride tomorrow is going to suck without any music to dance along to. So what would I be listening to? Why, my two new favorite songs, of course!
Perhaps my new favorite song to DJ, "Ooh La La" is like sex in a bottle. Yes, it's that song from that commercial, but dammit it's good. Rest of Goldfrapp's stuff I'm digging a lot lately too, but this song is on heavy repeat. So play it loud, and dance around. It wants you too...oh...so...badly.
Sia's music evokes a mood. So brilliantly used in the very last scenes of my beloved Six Feet Under, "Breathe Me" immediately became a hit. This Australian songstress has followed it up with a fantastic album, and a new single. "Sunday" (which you have probably heard on HBO, those guys know how to pick them) is thankfully a bit more upbeat but still lets Sia throw her musical weight on top of us. There are a lot of things going on in her songs, but so beautifully held together by her haunting voice. "Sunday" showcases what "Breathe Me" hinted at - exceptional use of atmosphere that actually sounds good. Imagine that.
Posted by Rachael at 3:12 PM
I'm leaving for the weekend tomorrow. My sister has taken my parent's role (above and beyond neccessary) while they live thei lives overseas. She even called me to ask if I wanted a bottle of vodka. Something tells me she sees me in a very particular light.
While I'm away there's some shows to note for Saturday Night.
Sigh. Oh well. Happy Holidays to all!
Posted by Rachael at 11:17 AM
We're unveiling the new website on Monday, so that means I can't really write a normal post. Why? Because my head is so congested it may explode all over my computer and I've forgotten what my apartment looks like underneath the piles of clothes, CDs, books, and magazines. But this is all you need to know:
The Upwelling @ Pianos:
Joe Whyte and Alexander Seier @ Cross Pollination:
A Brief Smile @ Fat Baby:
Posted by Rachael at 7:48 AM
Thursday, April 13, 2006
Week # 2. New Poster. A Brief Smile continues their residency at Fat Baby tonight.
Posted by Rachael at 7:21 AM
Wednesday, April 12, 2006
For reasons unbeknownst to me I can't stop listening to Chicago's "If You Leave Me Now" today. It immediately has risen to #6 on my iTunes top 25.
Sorry for the lack of interesting updates today. I'm feeling quite under the weather and have a general frustration with everything today. When I don't get a lot of sleep I tend to be very crabby. To ease that situation, apparently playing the same song over and over again helps. Especially this one.
Posted by Rachael at 2:40 PM
In exactly four weeks I will be a college graduate. For 3 years and 300 days, I was completely ready to graduate. Now, reality has set in and the job search is kicking my ass. There are some really ridiculous positions out there that I, sadly, am considering applying for.
This is one I found on craigs list. I am NOT applying for it. (I can't cook).
Duties include but are not limited to the following:
1. Make me a light breakfast (easy cooking)
2. Steam vegetables and possible some light cooking on foreman grill daily
2. Wash dishes or use dishwasher.
3. Get mail daily (mail stuff)
4. Run errands daily (buy stuff, deliver stuff, etc.)
5. Light cleaning of certain areas of office
6. Coordinate laundry and dry cleaning
7. Burn tivo down to DVDs
8. Filing and organizing of receipts and other items
9. Breaking down and removing recycling
10. Take out trash
11. Letting people in and out of office (cleaning people, contractors, etc.)
12. Order stuff online
13. Receive Fresh Direct deliveries
14. Manage calendar (easy updating online)
15. Stock up on necessities
16. Basic grocery shopping (besides fresh direct)
17. Basic online research
18. Assist current Personal Assistant if necessary
Posted by Rachael at 12:28 PM
KEXP will be live in NYC May 15-19, featuring live in-studio performances from some of our favorite locals. Sign up for the free performances here.
We're looking forward to seeing Teenage Prayers, The Diggs, The GoStation, The French Kicks, and "Yeti-approved" Elvis Perkins in Dearland.
Take a listen:
Posted by Rachael at 11:01 AM
Tuesday, April 11, 2006
Frequently Asked Questions about "Get On Your Dancing Shoes"
1. Do I really have to wear special shoes to attend this event?
Although we do suggest wearing comfortable shoes, it is not a requirement. However, be prepared to be on your feet all night as the music will get you up and moving. Ever see Weekend at Bernie’s II? It's kind of like that. DJ Rachael wears comfortable shoes, in fact, tonight she's wearing some that resemble ballet shoes. So she really is wearing her dancing shoes.
2. Do I have to dance?
Yes, and the funky chicken is allowed, contrary to rumors.
3. Do you take requests?
Contrary to what we've heard about DJs in the lower east side, DJ Rachael is up to hear what you have on your mind. If she has it, chances are she'll play it, but keep in mind that she lives in Brooklyn and schleps around her CD case all day from school to class and then down to Pianos. So she doesn't have every CD possible. But if you ask nicely, and she doesn't have it, she'll make sure that next week it makes the rounds.
4. Does DJ Rachael only play pretentious indie dance rock that none of us have heard but she swears is the next big thing?
Maybe. But that's just because she's better than you because she's a blogger. Let's see what she has on file for tonight....hmmm I see some Ace of Base, some Cyndi Lauper, Michael Jackson, and Fall Out Boy...mixed with all that indie rock that you haven't heard of that she swears is the next big thing. So come expecting a fun mixture of both old and new, both underrated and overrated. It's like a cornucopia of music.
5. Will I find my soul mate at "Get On Your Dancing Shoes"?
There's a very good possibility. In fact, I just called up my psychic and she said you will meet the (wo)man of your dreams tonight, but only if you dance. So it's up to you.
6. Will there be celebrities present?
Besides DJ Rachael? Besides a particular girl who is known for her robot moves? Well, fine you-US Weekly-obsessed freak. The first week we had three. Last week there were zero. So it's really up in the air whether those A-listers decide to make an appearance. But we can promise that every week is something special, like band's afterparties or special guest DJs. In fact, in a couple of weeks on of our favorite comedians will be joining DJ Rachael on decks. We can't tell you exactly who, but let's just say he's an A.
7. Can you lend me 50 bucks?
I wish! One day we will hopefully be bathing ourselves in dollar bills, so we'd be happy to lend you a couple green ones (before we bathe, we promise). But for now we can just rock your socks off each week with NO COVER. Of course, alcohol does help the whole dancing factor so you may need to shell out a couple bucks (and make sure you tip the bartenders). But trust us, it's one of the best deals in town (after Piano's happy hour bar menu of course).
8. Why start so late on a Tuesday night? Don't you have work the next day?
Well yes, we all do. But there's a very good reason for this. Right before us our brothers from another mother, aka those kids from Cross Pollination put on their weekly party featuring two of the best singer/songwriters in town. There's this crazy surprise at the end of each week right before DJ Rachael takes the stage, something that only the name signifies. Intrigued ? I thought so. Plus, it's free.
9. Where do babies come from?
Two people who meet at "Get On Your Dancing Shoes" and never look back.
10. It's Tuesday, and I know I'm supposed to be somewhere. Can you help?
That's what we are here for. Pianos is located at the corner of Ludlow & Stanton. "Get On Your Dancing Shoes" is at the upstairs lounge. Just follow the tunes.
Posted by Rachael at 3:12 PM
[photo via baonguyen's flickr]
So I've felt like an old lady lately, getting tired at 9 PM and not really feeling any crazy nights out. But as soon as Voxtrot started playing last night (opening with "Mother Sisters Daughters & Wives mp3), I immediately became a little girl. They make me giddy, in the best way possible, and I came to the conclusion last night that this band is my boyband in the indie rock realm.
Let me explain. They are perfectly crafted pop songs, and all that’s missing is choreographed dance moves. Ramesh's bouncing is half way there. Their songs scream sing alongs and judging from the two under-18 girls in front of me and the young drunkity drunk drunk gal that jumped on stage, they are well on their way to breaking young girls' hearts.
Despite some technical issues and my incessant yawning (not a fault of the band), it was an enjoyable show. Not the best out of the five that I've now got under my belt, but they really could do no wrong in my eyes. As long as they keep playing those god damn great songs, I'll go see them time and time again. Maybe I can be a Voxtrot-bopper, or a Teenie-Voxtrot. Eh, whatever. I'm a fan.
Posted by Rachael at 12:51 PM
I waited until today to post a full report on Birdmonster's album. I would have felt bad that I have had the chance to listen to it over and over and over and over and over again, before you were given a chance. Be jealous, because it's one of my favorite albums of the year.
Today, the album is finally available and I'm excited to get my copy in the mail (even if it is accompanied with some strange diseases). It has been a pleasure to watch (er read) about their recording process. But it has been even more a pleasure to listen to the final product.
No Midnight is one of those albums that you listen to, and it can tell the future. All of these songs are self-contained rock gems that you know these guys just have more up their sleeves. Songs like "The Bar in the Back of the Basement" and the new version of "All The Holes In The Walls" capture this manic energy I was able to witness when I saw them live. Peter's voice is one of the better voices in this indie-rock genre, a wail here and a screech here and there. Every time I listen to the album, I find a new favorite moment or song. Right now it's the album's title track "No Midnight," a song that slows down the pace and lets these young boy's musicianship shine. But "Cause You Can" will always be my #1 pick to go crazy listening to. And if you aren't sure of anything, just take a listen to the last minute of "Spaceman," the track that closes out the album. All expectations are thrown happily out the window.
It's a rock and roll album, with a tang of county (gotta love those banjos) all packaged together in a cohesive debut effort. Each time I listen to it, I'm more impressed. They've strayed away from the early comparisons of Modest Mouse to show that they can make music that feels both contemporary and classic, and most definitely alive.
No longer a presale, buy No Midnight here or on iTunes.
Read their hilarious blog here.
Be their myspace friend here.
P.S. - A little "bird" told me they are coming to NYC this summer. Ooh baby.
Posted by Rachael at 7:33 AM
Monday, April 10, 2006
This is old, but I never actually watched this when it was on VH1. Did it ever really air? Anyway, I always liked John Mayer. I saw him once when Guster opened up for him in Rhode Island and behind all the 12 year olds screaming, he played a mean guitar. This video clip made me like him a little bit more.
Posted by Rachael at 6:37 PM
I've been spending the last three hours looking for a mini palm tree. It's my assignment for the day at work, and it's a lot harder than you would think. Luckily I have the advance of Sound Team's album Movie Monster to keep me entertained.
The album is a lot better than anticipated. I don't know why I expected the worst, but something tell me that when you have a very strong song, the rest of the album will be hindered because of it. Nope. I was wrong. But it takes a couple listens.
It's a lot darker than I thought it would be, with its electronic tinkering constant and pulsating from start to end. Dare I say it actually is one of the few bands that I could compare to Pink Floyd that actually lives up to it? Each song is grand, relying less on melodies and more of atmospheric renderings. It's quite impressive.
Come to Piano's upstairs tomorrow night and I'll play a couple tracks off of it. You can tell me if you dig it too.
The band will be in NYC May 17, playing Webster Hall with Elefant.
Posted by Rachael at 2:40 PM
You would think that seeing a band three times in four days would be enough for maybe a month. Yeah, not with me. I'm counting down the hours today until I get to see Voxtrot play at Mercury tonight. So excited. There are very few bands that get me so giddy, a result of perfectly crafted happy-go-lucky pop songs.
Part of me was going to go both nights (the band played Mercury last night as well), but that could have been considered overkill. So instead I just listened to both EPs all night. Cause that's ok too.
Voxtrot, tonight, Mercury Lounge, SOLD OUT.
If you aren't one of the lucky ones to see them, you can buy their EP's here.
And if you are one of those lucky ones, put on your game faces. It's time to dance.
Posted by Rachael at 11:32 AM
Sunday, April 9, 2006
The Upwelling are playing every Tuesday night in April at Pianos. They go on at 7:30. After that come on upstairs, cause we're going to be dancing.
Posted by Rachael at 7:30 PM
That aforementioned detox went out the window last night. So far out the window, in fact, that when I woke up this morning (er afternoon) I realized I had dreamt of living in a vineyard. That's what you get when you think only drinking wine is not really drinking.
So I pounded some water, and started to listen to some old-school Blink 182 and No Doubt. No joke. It's all in preparation for this week's "Get On Your Dancing Shoes." Ever think you could find a DJ that plays as many guilty pleasures (I hear she'll be throwing in some Ace of Base) as well as new quality indie rock/pop (this week = new tracks from Sound Team). You are already so excited. I can tell. Plus it's the afterparty for The Upwelling. You can't get any better than that.
Alas, I digress. We need to catch up. Coffee anyone?
Thursday I sauntered over to Fat Baby for night numero uno of A Brief Smile's residency. I can't make up my mind on Fat Baby. On one hand I love the upstairs bar/lounge, and I have never been more comfortable watching A Brief Smile downstairs. I've seen bands play at Fat Baby where the sound is better than most venues in New York. But alas, that wasn't the case this week. I've seen these boys play more times that I probably should publically admit, so I think I have gained the knowledge to judge/compare with their previous shows. This, unfortunately, wasn't my favorite set by the band. Like Jerry pointed out, the stage is too small for them to really rock out and have fun with the tunes. But for me, it had more to do with the sound. Although I know very little about sound engineering, I do know when something isn't right. What makes A Brief Smile's unique is that it's a wall of sound that comes at you and fills up an entire room. Each part is so particular, but only with each instrument combined. For some reason, it seemed disconnected. It wasn’t a fault of the boys (or so I'll claim), but the levels weren't right. However, it was only week one. Chances are, I'll be there for the next three weeks and things will get better.
Friday, I traveled to the west side (gasp!) to Lion's Den (double gasp!) to check out Seth Kallen and The Shambles. It was infiltrated with young girls (ok so maybe just three years younger than me, but I felt old). Seth had sent me a couple rough tracks off his upcoming album, which is promised to be a large departure from his previous efforts. I agreed. Now it was time to hear them play live. What is great about acts like Seth, and many other singer/songwriters that play with a full band, is that they have the opportunity to retain a mainstream pop sound while progressing and tinkering with a new sound. If it's done right, you won't lose your core fanbase, but you will gain respect of new ones. When I see people like Seth, or even A Brief Smile, I forget sometimes that they are so young. It's incredible how mature and well composed their songs are. It's not easy to write something catchy, but Seth has done it time and time again. And even though listening to the new songs played live, I didn't hear as much of a departure as I imagined, I had so much fun listening to them that I didn't really care.
Last night started out at Rockwood Music Hall (now officially my favorite) for a nice showcase of a wide variety of music, and a lot of wine. They pour big glasses at Rockwood, but that isn't why it's my favorite venue. The small room is cozy, classy, and provides some of the best acoustics I've ever heard. The night started out with Rob from DC's The Hard Tomorrows who played a bunch of tunes off of their new album that is coming out this May. It was a treat to hear him play solo, a completely difference experience from seeing the band live. Stripped down and raw, the songs sounded sweet and playful. Hearing "Put Yourself Out" was wonderful. I've listened to that song so many times, but hearing it live in that environment was almost surreal. There's a certain element in The Hard Tomorrow's songs that are almost dreamlike, or perhaps nostalgic is the better description. You could really feel that when hearing them played solo.
After Rob, we stuck around for Seth's friend Miss Melody Gardot. I strive to think of a better female voice that I've heard play live, the only other I could think of is the wonderful Jaymay. Seeing all three performers last night made me feel so untalented. I don't get why some people are donned with such a natural beautiful singing voice. I definitely got the short end of the stick. Donned in sunglasses and a floppy hat, Melody Gardot's raspy jazz voice is infused with some Fiona Apple-esque angst. We got to snap our fingers, sing along, and hold our breathes for the next note out of this young talent's mouth. She was a wonderful surprise, and one that I hope, nay expect, to be heard by so many more.
Laura Burhenn was up next, and while she was equally as good as the performers that had played before her, the wine was getting to our heads. You have to stay quiet in Rockwood, due the small room and how close you are to the performers. So you can't get away with much. Jocelyn was doing her usual practice of making me laugh too loud, so we excused ourselves early so not to create a scene. But from what we did hear, Laura sounded a bit more mainstream than say Melody, up on the piano channeling the likes of Norah Jones, both sultry and confident. My only complaint was that she was up third and by that point I had begun to get a bit restless.
The rest of the night consisted of some embarrassing dancing at The Skinny with Jocelyn and Matt before the DJ booth became packed, and I begged Nora to play that new Kelly Clarkson song. Have you heard it? I'm obsessed. Then away I went to Brooklyn, with a stop in Williamsburg before I stumbled back home. The detox officially begins again today. I need to buy some more of those apples.
Posted by Rachael at 3:34 PM
Saturday, April 8, 2006
Posted by Rachael at 6:32 PM
Friday, April 7, 2006
I have never been more thrilled for a weekend. I can't wait to sit in front of my computer all day while figuring out what the hell some of these crazy html codes really mean. Oh wait. I do that on the weekdays too.
But all I know is that it will be worth it in the end, because the new website is going to be so pretty you are going to want to call it up every night and take it out to dinner. Just don't expect too much in return, if you know what I mean.
Don't forget Seth Kallen is playing tonight at Lions Den, and The Gaskets at Pianos. Tomorrow, Rob from The Hard Tomorrows is playing solo at our favorite venue, Rockwood Music Hall.
And to get you into the weekend mood...
Posted by Rachael at 7:28 PM
One of these days I'm going to get our podcasts together, and they will be awesome. But until then, check out the following:
Both are great. Check them out.
Posted by Rachael at 1:07 PM
Let me introduce to you my new show companion:
They made their debut last night at night one of A Brief Smile's residency at Fat Baby.
Since I'm on a mini-detox, I need to keep myself occupied when I'm at shows. I'm so obsessed with Trader Joes and found myself in Union Square meeting Jocelyn before we headed downtown. I ran quickly into the store with a strange craving for an apple. They don't sell just one apple, so the nice store clerk led me to what I know call the holy wall. There, on a rack in front of me, were these delicious treats. I quickly grabbed the sliced apples, paid for them, and was crunching away en route.
Jocelyn thought I was a bit crazy, but as soon as she tasted one, she understood. They are crispity delicious with just the right sweetness. God damn. So good.
So if you see me at a show, ask for an apple. I'll introduce you to my little friend.
(Forgive this post. There will be better ones on their way today. I just am so embedded with html coding the new website that I needed a break, and the apples were on my mind. They really are that good)
Posted by Rachael at 12:16 PM
Thursday, April 6, 2006
I bailed on seeing The Stills last night. I know, I'm lame. But when you fall asleep on the subway ride home from work and end up going an hour out of your way just to get back to your apartment, you know you need some rest. Plus, a new episode of Lost was on, and if I waited until tonight to watch it, my head just may have exploded. And that's just gross.
Hey but you know what? There are great shows going on tonight. In fact, all month.
Here's a fun fact: A Brief Smile played with El Jezel at our first Underrated showcase over a year ago, as a last minute fill in for The Upwelling. One of these days I'm going to create a whole six degrees of separation on New York bands. It's so incestual.
My friends A Brief Smile kick off their month long residency at Fat Baby tonight. If you have read this blog for a while, you've seen my numerous posts. Now, go out and see them. You've got four chances, and nothing to do on Thursday nights. I don't want to hear any excuses, ok?
El Jezel is kicking of the latest showcase by Crackers United, alongside Foreign Islands, Rahim, and Other Passengers. We always have a crazy fun time at those shows. Expect tonight to be no different. Check out this post for all the info and mp3's from the bands.
And starting NEXT Tuesday, The Upwelling will be playing every week left in April at Pianos. It's been far too long since we've seen this band play, and now that they've gotten all huge in the UK, our expectations are at the highest. Lucky for them, we've never been disappointed at one of their shows. We can't wait to hear their new stuff either. If you have yet to hear about this band, get out from under the rock (it's not very comfortable anyways, right?). Because this year they'll get all huge and you'll want to be one of the cool kids who said you knew them when. Plus, every Tuesday all you gotta do is walk upstairs after their show to hang out with the band and me at the fabulous party "Get On Your Dancing Shoes." Upwelling + Underrated Dance Party = Best Night Ever.
Posted by Rachael at 1:16 PM
Sometimes it's good to be home schooled.
One of my favorite new bands of the '06 is Oh No! Oh My!, a creation from two home schooled buddies out of Nashville. There have been some changes over the years (depressing music into happy indie pop, Jolly Rogers into Oh No! Oh My!) but they've seemed to hit their mark. I bought their two EPs (Jolly Rogers and Oh No! Oh My!) about a month ago. It was the best $3 I've ever spent in my entire life.
I have been known to post about the same bands over and over again. This is post #3 for the band. I don't care. If I have to post over and over again to persuade you to love them as much as I do, then so be it. But seriously, I'm telling you -- you've got to hear this band.
But there's a point to posting about them today (and not just because I sincerely love them). Their EP's, although fabulous, were burned copies of unmastered takes. Now, for only $7 more, they are sending out their 11-track CD, complete with album art-work (although I appreciated the hand scribbled titles on their EPs too). Pre-Order it on their website by clicking on "Shop!" Take a listen to some of their other tracks they have up there for free too.
You will be convinced. I guarantee it.
But in case you need their reasons:
1. The overall "sonic" quality is much better. This is the album as we intend for you to hear it. The Pre-Release was a bunch of rough mixes thrown on a CD-R.
2. There's 2 brand new songs, entitled, Farewell To All My Friends, and The Backseat. I'm extremely proud of how those two turned out, most especially the latter, which is a deeply personal song for myself. I think it possibly conveys a more developed and "thought out" sound than some of the other songs.
3. It's been Mastered by one of my super favorite people...in fact...the very person we named our band after a song of his. Ryland from The Robot Ate Me.
4. The Pre-Release was a way for people to evaluate our music...and mainly...just get people interested. So hopefully, if you like it, you'll be willing to support us.
5. If people don't buy the official release...we can't really afford to make more music...or make cool things like T-Shirts. No, we're not selling it for dirt cheap (although I think it is significantly cheaper than almost any other full length CD you'll find out there)...but the profits just go towards us being able to make more music for your ears....
6. Ms. Laura Park made some INCREDIBLY amazing artwork that blows my mind. The front...the back...the inside. It's just so...amazingly awesome. And it is 5 billion times better than a cruddy old CD-R that says "Maxwell" on it.
7. You'll be helping out 3 really nice guys...who love to make music...and hope to do this for a living one day...and up till now, we've been working day jobs to pay to make music. It'd be nice if one day our day job could be making music...and wouldn't take that many people to buy CD's...I think I figured....3000? Oh to dream...
8. If enough people buy CD's...we'll be able to actual tour and play shows for people this year! And how amazing would that be?? And you could actually meet us, and see how quiet and reserved we really are...
That's all I can think of right now..although I know some of those were kind of the same thing...but oh well. So...tell your friends. We're only making an initial run of 250, to see how good of a response we receive. After I DO receive CD's back from the manufacturer...the price will go up $2. So, buy it now, and save some money!
My new favorite song off their EP (it changes daily, they are all so good):
Posted by Rachael at 12:25 PM
I've been itching to hear new songs from one of my favorite live acts, The Futureheads. Yeserday, it was announced that their follow up album, News and Tributes will be released on June 13 by Vagrant/ StarTime International.
Skip To The End
News And Tributes
Return Of the Berserker
Back To The Sea
Worry About It Later
Favours For Favours
Help Us Out*
We Cannot Lose*
* Tracks 13-15 are taken from the previously released EP, Area, and are only
available as a limited release on the first run of this LP.
Looks like we'll be getting some tour dates soon, too. But until then, here's the first single off the album. It's got those same catchy hooks and inviting harmonies, but it looks like the guys have matured, just a bit. They've started expiermenting with some different beats. Totally pumped for this album. I think the best is on it's way from this band.
Posted by Rachael at 7:30 AM
Wednesday, April 5, 2006
I'm not quite sure yet whether is is awesome or awful. All I know is that I play both songs on a regular basis when I DJ, so the two combined is at least interesting.
Verdict is still out, hear for yourself:
[via indie blog heaven]
Posted by Rachael at 2:46 PM
I think I've found my new favorite band.
So I've been in this not so funky funk for a week now. I'm a bit of a control freak (surprise surprise) so when things are out of my control, I go a little nuts. So when things go badly, and I can't do anything about it - I am completely bummed out. I think that showed a bit last night at "Get On Your Dancing Shoes." I wasn't feeling, so, dancy. (Plus I screwed up like 10 times, go figure). But fear not, people. Because even though it's snowing outside, and even though I'm running on three hours of sleep...there is a band that I just fell in love with. And for that, I'm sorta giddy.
Upon a recommendation on Coolfer, I checked out this LA band. Coolfer described them as "the kind of pop smarts that make The Shins so lovable." That's reason enough for me to check them out, and I was immediately taken.
Since March 29, I haven't been able to go a day without listening to them. No joke. I've only got two songs, but two songs that I have memorized and officially declared them part of my happy music. Seriously. It the kind of music that makes the day more bearable, with yes, That Shins pop mentality, and a little bit of craziness a la Love Is All or Arcade Fire.
In a nutshell, it's awesome.
Buy their upcoming EP here. It will be released next week.
If you live on the west coast (and are not victim to a snow storm in April right now), go see them on April 18 in LA for the album release party. More in on their myspace.
Posted by Rachael at 12:28 PM
Tuesday, April 4, 2006
Sunday night I go to sleep at 11 PM. Maybe 11:15. (Right after Gray's and Sopranos, of course). Why, you ask? Why am I such a tool that I go to sleep so early? Well, it's my rest for the week! Just take a look at what's going on...
"Get On Your Dancing Shoes" Duh.
The Stills @ Mercury.
Night 1 of A Brief Smile's residency at Fat Baby. Be there, or else I won't be your friend anymore. I mean it this time.
Seth Kallen plays Lion's Den. He's showcasing new material. He gave me a listen and I must saw I was quite impressed. A complete departure from his earlier material. I'm excited to hear more.
And then I head on over to Piano's because The Gaskets are playing a late night show. I felt bad that I had to cancel on them, so I hooked them up with a show, starting at 11:30. BE THERE.
Mr. Yeti has got the ticket link and more MP3's and is, quite possibly, their biggest fan.
See! I needed my sleep.
Posted by Rachael at 4:17 PM
So I'm going to pretend the following things:
1. I'm not exhausted
2. The sun miraculously came out and heated up NYC to a nice 80 degrees
3. Friday's show was never canceled and there will be a special guest appearance by Tom Vek...afterparty at my apartment
4. I won the lottery and all my bills were paid
5. The last month of school was optional and I graduated with my dream job waiting for me (after a trip around the world of course)
Ah, one can dream. But you know what? It helps. Happy music helps as well. I've been bombarding my ears with only the happiest, and I've found myself quite pleased with life (although the above would be icing on the cake).
I just listened to Return To The Sea, the debut album by Islands. Oh my god, it is good. No really. This is not me exaggerating this time. I swear. It's so good, in fact, that I don't want to write about it because I'm left speechless. See? I can't stop using exaggerations. Or clichés. It's that good. Buy it.
Well you knew it was coming soon, and here it is. Today, Bishop Allen released their March EP. That would be numero three EP in 2006. Those super productive folks over at They should get an award or something. I listened to this on the way to work today and I think it may be my favorite. Apparently it's Justin's too. He wrote the song about the famous ironclad the Navy built in Greenpoint. He walks by the old works on the way to their studio in the morning and on the way back to his home at night. It definitely has a walking pace to it, and it really wants to be in a movie with a cool flashback montage set to it. I love flashback montages. Especially if someone could pull it off with the "la di das".
Buy March here. (EPs are now sold as digi-packs. Instant gratification. Woot woot!)
Everyone knows Voxtrot gets me happy. So happy in fact that anytime anyone asks me for a new band I tell them VOXTROT!!!!! (Exclamation points included). I know that no matter what my said seeker likes, they are going to like Voxtrot. So all you haters out there, go away. You know you can't get enough of these super catchy hooks. You just don't want to admit it. Their EP is a favorite already. Go buy it. Now.
They peformed on KEXP last month and Dodge posted the MP3s from Greg. My favorite? Their Talking Heads cover. I'm convinced they played this live at one of the 3 times I saw them in Austin, but I could be wrong. I think it was the first night at Emo's. Can anyone confirm this? Either way, it's awesome.
Posted by Rachael at 1:55 PM
So I'm in French class this morning, staring off into space (I have a month left of college, mind you) when I see a little IM icon grace my sidekick. While our professor (who is a year older than me, mind you) is writing some ridiculous grammar on the board, I stealthily check to see what someone could have to say to me this early in the morn'. It was Jerry with a link to some Tom Vek news. This perked me right up, as I clicked the link and waited for it to load his blog.
It's a little screen, this sidekick, so you have to scroll down a lot. So I'm scrolling away underneath my French workbook (so as not to be seen and subsequently had a ruler smacked at me...I kid) and then I see the headline:
Tom Vek Only Has One Testicle
I gasped. Loudly. So loud in fact that my professor stopped speaking, and the room turned around to see what was up. So naturally i hit my water bottle to the ground and mumbled something in French to the effect that there was a bug.
"Désolé, j'ai pensé que j'ai vu une insecte, désolé"
A certain je ne sais quoi look on my professors face and then she went back to teaching. I went back to the sidekick.
Luckily after some scrolling (and a little drooling over Tom's shirt that says "Just Do Me" (um, okay, call me), I realized that Mr. Yeti had made a clever little joke. Turns out he's teamed up with ONE of the TEST ICICLES for a little side project that is no different than some college students playing together while drinking a beer on the weekend. A little different I'd say.
I can't listen to anything on myspace at work so how do they sound?
Jerry says one thumb (or testicle, I suppose) up.
This blog just got a little dirtier.
In completely unrelated news, it's quite cold outside in New York today. What happened to spring?
This still warms me right up:
Posted by Rachael at 11:26 AM
Yesterday was a big bummer, but I plan to ease my pain by dancing up a storm tonight at "Get On Your Dancing Shoes." You too? Awesome!
a. A Stills fan who can't wait for the new album?
b. A Stills fan who is going to their show tomorrow night at Merc and need a place to hang after?
c. Someone who has never heard of the Stills
d. Someone who doesn't particularly care for The Stills but loves anything you can dance to
e. Someone who is in love with Rachael?
If you are any of the above (and face it, you have to be at least one), come to Pianos Upstairs Lounge for the second installment of "Get On Your Dancing Shoes" the best weekly party where DJ Rachael spins everything underrated and overrated.
Guaranteed to make you dance.
Come early for Cross Pollination, where two of NYC's finest singer/songwriters showcase their talent with a special twist at the end. This week: Issac Wardell and Cheyenne will perform, starting at 7:30.
And then: stay late for the best night of your life.
Your wednesday mornings will never be the same.
Posted by Rachael at 7:32 AM
Monday, April 3, 2006
So with much apprehension, it looks like Friday's show is canceled.
I did everything I possibly could, but due to some unforeseen road bumps (many of them, to be quite honest) it's in everyone's best interest if we just call it a day.
Now, I'm to go crawl into a hole cause I'm totally bummed. No more posts for today.
But you can support the wonderful lineup that we had planned by checking out their websites, signing up for mailing lists, buying cds, and going to their other shows.
Posted by Rachael at 2:09 PM
Remember how much fun it was when Editors kept changing their venue up until the last minute?
Yeah. Well, it seems to be happening to us over at Underrated as well.
We were confirmed for Fontana's, but as of Saturday, that no longer seemed to matter. I'm extremely sorry for all the confusion. It's giving me a huge headache, so I imagine it is doing the same for you as well.
As of now, the show is in risk of being canceled, unless we get everything confirmed from our new venue today. It's a huge bummer because the lineup was one of my favorites and it was bound to be a fantastic night of music. We want to make sure we keep to our promise with free admission and open bar, but also to make sure the bands are happy.
I will keep you posted when everything is 100% confirmed. Until then, stay tuned.
Again, I’m so sorry for all the confusion. You know it's not (always) my style.
Posted by Rachael at 11:33 AM
Sunday, April 2, 2006
In case you missed it, my favorite tracks from March! (only two days late, bear with me)
First track off of Without Feathers. Wasn't the hugest fan at first, but over the month it has grown on me. Heard good things about their shows in Austin. Looking forward to hearing the updated lineup this week.
Congrats to the band for signing with Jade Tree. So deserved. This new track has become a bit of an obsession. Can't wait to see how this band progresses. It's been fantastic thus far.
This band is growing on me by the minute. One of the most interesting albums I've heard in a long time, What the Toll Tells is an act of indie rock cabaret in all its glory. One of my personal highlights of SXSW, and "Las Cruces Jail" is incredibly engaging.
I refuse to go a month without mentioning Tom Vek. So here's a new B-Side for us all to enjoy.
I can't quite understand why everyone isn't going nuts about this band. One of the best live shows from a local band, I am consistently impressed each time I see them. Now all we need is some new recordings. But until then, I'll still replay the old stuff over and over and over and over again.
This is what great music sounds like today. Enough said.
A surprise favorite of mine at this year's SXSW. A new perfectly pop formulated UK band that is giving the Futureheads a run for the money.
Sometimes I fear that I'll run out of good local bands to report on. And yet, I haven't. The Sharp Things have enough people on stage to create chaos, but somehow it provides beautifully clever music that is easy on the ears.
My favorite track I've heard from this new buzz band. It's finally converted me. I'm hooked.
I can't even explain how awesome their show at Knitting Factory was. So just listen and try to imagine 200 sweaty bodies jumping around like idiots to this eclectic indie pop. That'll give you some idea.
How many times have I listened to the Birdmonster debut No Midnight? You'd be alarmed to find out (hint=three of the tracks have already made my top 25 in less than week). "Spaceman" is just one of the amazing tracks off this incredible debut. It closes the album, and the last part of this song is genius. Genius, I say. Genius.
Posted by Rachael at 6:09 PM
Saturday, April 1, 2006
I'm trying this new thing where I only allow myself one drink when I go out. It's about time I start saving my money instead of living from paycheck to pay check. Not only do I save money on the overpriced drinks of New York City, but also I've been sober enough to take the long subway ride back to Brooklyn instead of hopping into a cab. I've also sworn off coffee and diet coke, too. This could be a mini detox that will last, oh, a week. We shall see.
So last night, my sober self enjoyed a quite fabulous evening with the gals, starting at Rockwood Music Hall, the classiest and least pretentious venue in the Lower East Side. It's quite possibly the best show of The Undispusted Heavyweights that I have seen yet, where their sound was crystal clear, the crowd was heavily involved, and you could actually feel some crazy sort of magic in the air every time lead singer Casey Shea opened his mouth. I think my new goal in life is to bring a new person to see the Heavyweights every time they play. It's so pleasing to see the look on their face during the show and then hear them gush afterwards.
I know, I told them. They are great.
The highlight for me was their cover of "Fly Me To The Moon." It gave me chills.
Anyway, I could gush on and on myself, but let's face it, I've done it time and time before. Just come check them out next Friday at the Underrated show and we can gush together afterwards.
After the Heavyweights we all hopped into a cab to see Derek James over at Knitting Factory. I had a Derek James mp3 from ages ago, one that kept making it on to subsequent mixes, but I had never heard anything else or seen him live. A friend of mine (that shall remain nameless) had an interesting run-in with Mr. James and his band one evening, causing a slight obsession with his music. So there we were, among the most interesting crowd I'd ever seen at Knitting Factory, watching this quite enigmatic performer on stage.
Derek James is easily the most mainstream ready artist I have seen recently, and without any qualms, I want him to be huge. He looks like a young Bruce Springsteen (actually the resemblance is uncanny) and sounds like a mixture of a lot of the big mainstream pop singer/songwriters out there, but with an added charm. His songs side with more rock tendencies than pop, but with extremely catchy hooks that had the crowd dancing through the entire set.
Did I mention that crowd was about 70% young females that were eating up every word out of his mouth? That kind of love doesn't hurt either.
I was quite impressed with Mr. James, more so than I anticipated. It had been a while since I had seen people go so nutty over an act, and frankly, it was well deserved.
Check out Derek on myspace and buy his debut Stray on emusic.
Posted by Rachael at 1:39 PM