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Friday, October 31, 2008

Happy Halloween from The Sky Report

Just a quick reminder that I'll be DJ-ing tonight at midnight after a live performance by Pass Kontrol. Info on the flyer above.

Also, my favorite Swedish band have made special Halloween videos for just about every track on their new album A Hundred Things Keep Me Up at Night. They are all homemade and super cute. Check them out here.

Love is All - Give it Back

Wednesday, October 29, 2008


Hey Brooklyn, got plans for Halloween? I'll be playing a bunch of spooky tracks and hot electro/disko jams after Pass Kontrol rock the house. It all goes down at 11pm at Northeast Kingdom this Friday night. Take the L train to Jefferson, then walk a few steps to 18 Wykcoff (between Starr and Troutman). Prizes for best costume, so come decked out and dance the night away!

DEERHUNTER's Microcastle/Weird Era Continued Finally Hits Shelves

One of the finer releases of 2008 has finally been released in physical form, after its earlier leak and subsequent digital release on iTunes last August. Microcastle is the much anticipated follow-up to Deerhunter's 2007 breakthrough album Cryptograms. The new release comes packaged with a special bonus CD containing another entire album entitled Weird Era Continued. I know I've said this before, but frontman Bradford Cox is the single most prolific man in music today. After all, earlier this year he also released an exceptional album under his side project moniker Atlas Sound. That's three albums in 2008 alone, not to mention the plethora of non-album tracks that Cox regularly posts on his blog. It's hard to keep up.

Microcastle/Weird Era Continued is available now via Kranky Records.

Deerhunter - Nothing Ever Happened (live)

Monday, October 27, 2008

CMJ 08 Wrap-Up

So for me, CMJ kinda blew. Sure Crystal Castles were awesome. I'm a new fan of WhoMadeWho, Bad Veins and Heloise & the Savoir Faire. And Crystal Antlers rocked it all over the city. But my CMJ experience at first got off to a rough start. Then I hit the overwhelming fest for two nights. Friday I felt exhausted. Saturday I planned on going to the After the Jump day party, which was supposed to be at The Yard, then got switched to Market Hotel due to rain, then got cancelled entirely. Not to mention my failed attempt at catching Ebony Bones, who I am enthralled with right now. I call this all alot of bad luck. Whatever, it happens.

I had fun at the shows I got to see, so for what it's worth, here are my highlights from CMJ 08.

CRYSTAL CASTLES (removed by request):(





Friday, October 24, 2008

CMJ 08 Thursday

Crystal Castles delivered a spellbinding set last night, headlining a CMJ showcase at Webster Hall. And though lead singer Alice Glass doesn't have a great voice, her spastic energy and demonic-like presence are what rock stars are made of. Swigging from a bottle of red wine and screaming into her echoed mic, Glass stomped around the stage like a caged animal. At times, she even kneeled on the hands of the crazed fans up front, creating the illusion of floating above the crowd like an evil princess.

But the real star of this show was the amazing lighting design, perfectly in tune with the Nintendo-On-Acid chaos of the music. This show was highly entertaining and Crystal Castles had the packed house in the palm of their sinister hands. This was every bit the spectacle I had hoped for.

Fujiya & Miyagi sounded really good, though the set seemed to grow redundant after awhile. I love their albums and they definitely have talent, but live it came across a bit boring and not entirely engaging. I don't mean to say they were bad, but I was expecting a livelier show from these guys.

WhoMadeWho were superb. The trio (two of which were decked out in hysterical black and white skin-tight bodysuits) played a fantastic set full of great tracks, anchored by the band's infectious charisma. They really got the crowd moving. I am so glad I made it in time to catch these guys. I am definitely a new fan.

-All photos by Scot Bowman

Thursday, October 23, 2008

CMJ 08 Wednesday

-Crystal Antlers at Continental Army Plaza, Brooklyn

I started off Wednesday with a non-CMJ show, part of Todd P's week of free shows at the Continental Army Plaza in Williamsburg. Yes it was outside. Yes it was cold. But that didn't seem to put a damper on Crystal Antlers' ferocious performance. These guys are a loud and gritty, somewhat oversexed, desert rock band from Long Beach CA, whose music may have felt more at home in the grunge era. They sounded really great outside, with the J train passing over the Williamsburg Bridge in the background. It was kind of perfect.


I headed over to Piano's, intending to catch the Free Yr Radio showcase with Bumblebeez and Chairlift. When I got there I discovered Bumblebeez had been replaced by a band I had never heard of. Since I was there I went in and caught BM Linx, a bass-heavy softcore metal band that had the crowd in a tizzy, but I was really not into it. For me it was like watching a hair band on the Sunset Strip circa 1991. Not my thing.

It got really crowded and I had two hours until Chairlift were scheduled to go on, so I decided to change up my plans. I headed down to the Knitting Factory for the After the Jump showcase.

-Bad Veins

A pleasant surprise was Bad Veins of Cincinnati, Ohio. The duo are comprised of Ben Davis (vocals, guitar, synth) and Sebastian Schultz (drums) and they make dramatic rock music with an electronic backbone. I was really impressed with Davis' captivating performance - utilizing a megaphone to accentuate his complex and soaring vocals. Davis is a true artist and that became clear almost immediately.

-Crystal Antlers

In a funny case of irony, Crystal Antlers were also on the bill at the Knitting Factory. So yes, I unintentionally saw them twice in one night. And they rocked it both times!

-Heloise & the Savoir Faire

Heloise & the Savoir Faire were completely amazing, though the crowd had suddenly dissipated to about fifteen people, most of which were dancing their asses off. Heloise and her collective were high energy, rock 'n' roll fun, with a twist of carnival for flavor. I would really love to see these guys play a packed house. They would so own it.

-all photos by Scot Bowman

Wednesday, October 22, 2008

New TOBACCO Video - "Truck Sweat"

Here's the trippy new video for Tobacco's "Truck Sweat", a highlight on the new must-have album Fucked Up Friends. This clip features a scene with dildos, so...


CMJ 08 Tuesday
An Open Letter to Stereogum

What the F***!!!???

Your CMJ party at the new Studio at Webster Hall, was an RSVP-only event (via, to be held from midnight to 4AM on a Tuesday night. I RSVP'd. I made my way out in the cold. I waited outside in the cold for nearly 40 minutes. I got inside. I got a beer at the bar on the DJ level - bad dance music, hardly anyone was interested in dancing, or even hanging out in this room. In fact, Leo Fitzpatrick (of "Kids" fame) was standing at the bar next to me and uttered to his friends, "Guys, I'm out of here. If I wanted to hear music like this, I'd have stayed home and DJ'd myself."

I went downstairs to see the live bands I had come out for - Crystal Stilts, Ponytail, Marnie Stern, Gang Gang Dance. While letting random pockets of hipsters in, the security guy at the door to the "live" room was insisting that a sound check was in progress, so he couldn't let the rest of us in - "Come back in 15 minutes!" This happened at about 12:40AM.


I went back upstairs to the empty dance floor and got another beer. Loitered around a bit. Then decided enough time had passed and headed back downstairs. The crowd surrounding the door had at least tripled. I made my way down, nearing the door, watching as the doorman again let random pockets of people into the coveted "live" room. When I finally got to the door, he barked, "Where's your wristband?" Shocked, I said "What wristband?" He started shouting over my head at the masses behind me, "VIP only! Only those with wristbands get past me!" Now, there is no mistake here on my part. I checked in at the door, stating my name on the list. The girl quickly found it and told me that I was all set.

What the living f***!?

I stayed put at the (second) door for a minute, wondering what I should do. Someone muttered, "Wristband? For what?" Another complained, "This is the worst thing ever, I don't even care." Another guy, growing increasingly impatient, "No one got wristbands!" In all fairness, that last one wasn't true. I saw a couple of folks with wristbands on, though many without wristbands had just been let in. Anarchy!

After another 5 minutes or so, another security guy yelled, "We're doing soundcheck! Come back in 15 minutes!" Again! This was at 1:05AM. Feeling completely at a loss, I decided "f*** this s***. I have better things to do with my time. I mean, the very concept of "VIP-only" to see the only show billed is outrageous!! No offense to the artists involved, but it's not like David f***ing Bowie was performing Ziggy Stardust on the other side of those doors! I commend you on your line-up, but the vibe was foul.

The overall organization and treatment of the crowd at Webster Hall Tuesday night was borderline detestable. And why in God's name are you performing a soundcheck after one in the morning for a midnight show on a Tuesday night? If you wanted to throw a private party for you and your select VIP friends, why not do so in private, at say, your house? Your avid readers who RSVP'd via your site mean nothing?

CMJ can only get better from here.

Scot Bowman

PS: When I got home from this debacle I listened to the live stream on And I should give credit where it is due. Ponytail sounded great, though the audience seemed lost. Marnie Stern didn't go on until nearly 3:30 in the morning, but also sounded pretty damn awesome. Crystal Stilts, who played until well after four in the morning, got off to a fairly rough start (sound issues), but seemed to gain footing for a rather hallucinatory and engaging set, though they really started to fall totally apart toward the end (exhaustion?).

Monday, October 20, 2008

CMJ: All Week

I'll be posting all week from the CMJ Music Marathon, which kicks off tomorrow with a stellar Stereogum private bash featuring Crystal Stilts, Marnie Stern, Ponytail, and Gang Gang Dance at the brand new Studio at Webster Hall. Stay tuned...

Friday, October 17, 2008


Weird Tapes have been getting a lot of blog love lately, and deservedly so. With a seemingly endless stockpile of tracks popping up as free downloads, it's becoming increasingly clear that Philadelphia's Weird Tapes are an exciting new talent in the dark electro/dance world. Facts are minimal, but it seems Weird Tapes are part of a collective that also includes Memory Cassette and Hail Social, both also from Philadelphia.

The latest track to emerge is "My Babe Walk", the hardest dance track I've heard yet from Weird Tapes, but it features a sample from Cyndi Lauper that works really, really well.

Weird Tapes - My Babe Walk (mp3) (link)

Thursday, October 16, 2008

Underground Alert - COLUMBIA

Columbia are a two-man rhythm machine, made up of Jett Drolette (bass/vocals) and Ryan Sartin (drums/vocals). The duo intertwine ESG-like bass grooves with a cool 1981 downtown vibe and a modern post-punk synergy. Drolette and Sartin met in Bushwick and are making the neighborhood their musical haven. But they would probably be offended if I quickly dubbed them a Bushwick band, as their biggest gig yet was playing to a sweaty crowd on an East Village rooftop last week.

Sartin hails from Kansas City, which sharply contrasts Drolette's east coast precision. I think it's a match made in heaven.

Check out the new track "South Bronx Sways", now streaming at their myspace page.

Columbia dates:

Oct 17 - Vanishing Point, Brooklyn
Oct 31 - Bushwick Starr, Brooklyn
Nov 21 - Lit Lounge, Manhattan

Wednesday, October 15, 2008

TOBACCO - Fucked Up Friends

Tobacco is the totally f***ed up side project from Tom Fec of Black Moth Super Rainbow fame. The debut album, Fucked Up Friends is one of the freshest albums I've heard all year. Clocking in at under 40 minutes, the psychedelic electronic jams here have an infectious undercurrent that really sticks with you. Take Ratatat, with a dash of Jefferson Airplane and a double dose of, well...and slow it down - you've got Tobacco. Good, good stuff.

Black Moth Super Rainbow released the excellent Dandelion Gum last year. Get Tobacco's Fucked Up Friends at Insound.


Tuesday, October 14, 2008

PASSION PIT - "Sleepyhead"

Fans of MGMT should dig Passion Pit, an indie/electro-pop band from Cambridge, Massachusetts. Their new Chunk of Change ep was released last month on Frenchkiss Records and you can buy it here. The band will be on hand for a string of NY dates during CMJ next week. Check out the full itinerary here.

A new video has emerged for the track "Sleepyhead". Directed by The Wilderness, the clip was made completely without the use of CGI. Impressive, because it sure looks like it was.

MENAHAN STREET BAND - Take the Road By Walking

Menahan Street Band consists of members of Sharon Jones & the Dap Kings, Budos Band, and other bands who producer Thomas Brenneck brought together to "record hits" in his Bushwick apartment. In fact the band is named after Menahan St. in Bushwick.

"Led by Dap-Kings/Budos Band guitarist Thomas Brenneck, the album is, as THE FADER puts is, "filled with untouched palettes waiting to be sampled," while XLR8R says "most of the all-instrumental tracks waver between Motownish and Stax/Volt-esque flavor; the mood is very 'Soulsville'-era Isaac Hayes-meets-The Funk Brothers. Crisp, tight ensemble playing defines tracks like 'Tired of Fighting' and 'The Contender'...this is a must-have.""

The new album Take the Road By Walking hits stores today. The title track was sampled by Jay-Z last year on his hit "Roc Boys". Check out the original...

Menahan Street Band - Make the Road By Walking (mp3)

"There must be something in the water in Brooklyn these days that has kept this family of musicians going. Amy Winehouse, Mark Ronson, Kanye West, Ghostface Killah, The Hitmen, Wu-Tang Clan, Al Green, Nas, and now Jay-Z all coming to the same bunch of guys in their homemade studios in Brooklyn to get the stuff that today’s biggest records are made of. However, this is far from a pop record. Make the Road by Walking is a soulful exploration by a talented young group of musicians into the possibilities of instrumental music; an original, personal, and uncompromised creation that embodies the sound of a select group of musicians in one distinct place, at one particular moment in time. “This album is kind of a window into our world on Menahan Street,” says Brenneck. “In a way, we’re simply the street’s unofficial house band.”"

OF MONTREAL Played Roseland Ballroom

Of Montreal played a mind-drenching set at Roseland Ballroom last Friday night, leaving the crowd both perplexed by the setlist and in total awe of the most original live act I've seen this year. With a cavalcade of characters, props, and costumes - lead singer Kevin Barnes appeared almost nude, sitting atop a real-life white horse at one point - the band served as the orchestra to Barnes' theatrics, which at times were beyond silly, and at others, positively brilliant.

During the encore, Andrew VanWyngarden of MGMT joined in (rushing over after MGMT opened for Beck at United Palace Theatre) for a rousing cover of Nirvana's "Smells Like Teen Spirit". And though that sounds like a recipe for disaster, it actually came off as impressively convincing.

Love is All had the pleasure of opening for Of Montreal, basking in the excitement of what may have been the largest crowd they've seen in the States. But when Of Montreal took the stage and led the room into its hallucinatory portal, many may have forgotten that Love is All were ever a part of their night.

More pictures...

[Total Time 1:47:25]
01 Introduction
02 Id Engager
03 So Begins Our Alabee
04 Triphallus, To Punctuate!
05 She’s a Rejecter
06 For Our Elegant Caste
07 Touched Something’s Hollow
08 An Eluardian Instance
09 Heimdalsgate Like a Promethean Curse
10 Gallery Piece
11 Wraith Pinned To The Mist (And Other Games)
12 Women’s Studies Victims
13 St. Exquisite Confessions
14 Eros’ Entropic Tundra
15 Nonpareil Of Favor
16 October is Eternal
17 Wicked Wisdom
18 Disconnect the Dots
19 And I’ve Seen A Bloody Shadow
20 Plastis Wafers
21 Beware Our Nubile Miscreants
22 Mingusings
23 A Sentence Of Sorts In Kongsvinger
24 [encore break]
25 Smells Like Teen Spirit (Nirvana)*
26 Gronlandic Edit

*with Andrew VanWyngarden (MGMT)

Setlist courtesy of

-photos by Scot Bowman and Derek Morris

Friday, October 10, 2008

NEW VIDEO FRIDAY (Guilty Pop Edition)

Kanye West - Love Lockdown

Robyn - Cobrastyle

MGMT - The Youth

Thursday, October 09, 2008



It came as a total surprise to me that LoveLikeFire are a really great band, both live and on their recent ep An Ocean in the Air. A noise pop band from my hometown of San Francisco, Love Like Fire features the amazing presence of multi-instrumentalist/lead singer Ann Yu. How did I never know about these guys when I actually lived in SF?

LoveLikeFire will return to NYC with a CMJ date on Friday, October 24th at Ace of Clubs.

You can get the highly recommended album here.

-Djinn Toys

The real reason I discovered Love Like Fire is because the new Bushwick band Djinn Toys were opening. Somber, but melodic, Djinn Toys performed a collection of fleshed-out and well-focused tracks, even though they have only been a band for a couple of months. Djinn Toys attempt to tread waters last paved by the Kurt Cobain era of minimalist, straight up rock tracks (no synths here!), yet make the genre seem fresh and cohesive with the times.

Djinn Toys have a few Brooklyn dates in the coming weeks:

Oct. 13 - Trash Bar, Brooklyn
Oct. 16 - Vanishing Point, Brooklyn
Oct. 29 - Glasslands, Brooklyn

-photos by Scot Bowman

Monday, October 06, 2008

LOVE IS ALL - "Wishing Well"

The first single from Love Is All's forthcoming album is "Wishing Well", a three minute surge of Swedish indie fun. The track first premiered as the set opener on the band's mini US tour last June, then was subsequently released on the Wishing Well + 5 ep. Now the song finds its new home on One Hundred Things Keep Me Up At Night, the sophomore LP due for release on November 11th.

The accompanying video is super low budget and finds the five Swedes frollicking on a beach in Italy. Of the video, lead singer Josephine Olausson has said, "Yes I know it's silly and out of sync. And that there's a band aid on my nose from hitting the wall the previous day." So much for perfectionism.

Love is All open for Of Montreal at Roseland Ballroom this Friday, October 10th.

Love is All - Wishing Well (music video)

PONI HOAX - Images of Sigrid

Poni Hoax are from France and have recently released their 2nd album, Images of Sigrid on Tiger Sushi Records. The first single "Antibodies" is the perfect summation of their sound - brooding disco with a dash of early 80's new wave cynicism. The band most recently released a new 12" for the track "Hypercommunication". Get Images of Sigrid at Tiger Sushi Records.

I'll admit that the music video for "Antibodies" is a bit underwhelming, but at least you can check out the song.

Poni Hoax - Antibodies (music video)

Wednesday, October 01, 2008

New RATATAT Video - 'Shempi'

You have never seen ABBA quite like this before. Leave it to blip duo Ratatat to twist the eternal joy of Abba inside out, making the "Mamma Mia" pioneers seem absolutely terrifying. I love how Ratatat have been consistently warping silly pop culture artifacts into mind-altering new music videos. Their latest album LP3 ain't half bad either.

Ratatat - Shempi (music video)

New RADIOHEAD Video - 'Reckoner'

Congratulations to Clement Picon, winner of the In Rainbows Animated Music Video Contest. His effort for the new single "Reckoner" has been chosen as the track's official video. The video depicts a world building up only to suffer total annhilation. It's futuristic, thought-provoking, and typical Radiohead. Good work.

Radiohead - Reckoner - by Clement Picon

THE LEGENDS - 'Seconds Away'

The one-man band that is The Legends first grabbed my attention with the 2003 debut LP Up Against the Legends. After two subsequent releases, as well as the downsizing from nine members to one, Johan AngergĂ„rd is about to return with The Legends' 4th full-length. No date yet, but a brand new single is set for release on November 5. Of the new single, Johan says, "I need noise now, so this new single sounds like someone drilling a hole in your head. In a pleasant way that is. It’s called "Seconds Away" and is about the wonders of tryptizol." I would agree that this is the perfect desciption of the new track. If you like your pop noisy and bittersweet, check it out. Oh yeah, and The Legends are from Sweden.

The Legends - Seconds Away (mp3)

Stream older tracks here.