slenderbodies @ rough trade

slenderbodies @ rough trade

Slenderbodies headlined Brooklyn’s Rough Trade on May 7th. The indie/electronic guitar duo, made up of Ben and Max, were met with success quite quickly, scoring opening slots for both Passion Pit and PVRIS. For anyone who’s listened to Slenderbodies, it’s not much of a surprise. Not only is their guitar work deeply intricate, boasting a trademark wispiness that sets them apart from their peers, but they also sing, write, mix, and produce all their tracks. They fully own and control their creativity without anyone else interfering. It’s a rare feat in the music business, one that Slenderbodies deftly navigates with a seeming effortlessness.

Setting the mood prior to their set, two large lava lamps were placed to the right and left of the stage while a scarf swirled around a mic stand. The room was packed, and as Slenderbodies began to play in the near-darkness, the audience swayed and danced as the music gently wafted through the air. The only light came from brightly-colored, psychedelic graphics floating across a projector screen behind the band. The atmosphere was relaxing and peaceful; Slenderbodies delivered their fans a perfect ending to a Monday night.

Slenderbodies has a new LP coming out mid-late summer. Check out their latest single, “Anome,” here and for more Slenderbodies music, including a cover of MGMT’s “Electric Feel,” check out their Soundcloud here.

jeff rosenstock @ warsaw

jeff rosenstock @ warsaw

Jeff Rosenstock is a household name in the New York area, particularly in Brooklyn. Touring in support of his new record, POST—, he sold out his Warsaw date so fast that another needed to be added. In his thirties, Jeff has fans both older and younger. Teens crowded the front row, pressing their bodies against the barricade to be as close as possible. Their eyes were on the band as they set up, smiles slowly creeping up their faces and eyes widening.

Before the band made their official entrance, the Foo Fighters’ “The Best of You” boomed over the speakers with only one line on repeat: “the best.” The entire audience chorused those words at the top of their lungs, fists pumping, invisibly puncturing the air.

Tearing into “USA,” POST—‘s first full track, the mayhem immediately began.

A Jeff Rosenstock show is like one collective headbang. The crowd sways and undulates back and forth like a wave with the force of fans crowdsurfing, jumping, pushing, and shoving. Beer dribbles down chins and over the mouths of metal cans in the midst of cheers while heads furiously nod to the beat, hair swinging like violent vines. Sweat beads across foreheads, bleeding down into soaked shirts. Rosenstock himself is a direct participant, a man of nonstop movement who spends more time in the air than he does with his feet planted on the ground.

The majority of the setlist consisted of both POST— and 2016’s WORRY. Every song was sung in unison, both band and crowd uniting in perfect harmony.

Towards the end, during “We Begged 2 Explode,” Rosenstock grabbed the mic and jumped into the pit, making his way down the front row where his youngest, most elated fans were located. He was not only singing to them, but with them. Their eyes sparkled while their grins shone in the light. They were hurriedly taking selfies and videos, excitedly waiting for Rosenstock to come to their particular spot.

At one point, Rosenstock suddenly disappeared. Everyone looked at each other in confusion. From the back of the crowd, there was a lot of noise and a brief clamor, causing the audience to turn around. Rosenstock had somehow gotten to the balcony in the very back of the venue by the front doors, saxophone in hand as he began to play. The crowd roared, and did so a few moments later, when Rosenstock jumped in and joined them, surfing on the weight of their hands.

Making his exit soon after, Rosenstock left the audience wanting more. That wasn’t a problem, however; many of them, as exhibited by a show of hands, were returning to see Rosenstock again the following night.

mobile steam unit @ music hall of williamsburg

mobile steam unit @ music hall of williamsburg

Mobile Steam Unit makes business music.

Literally.

As openers for Animal Years, they single-handedly managed to grab the attention of the entire audience at Brooklyn’s Music Hall of Williamsburg. Not only are they talented musicians, but they’re hilarious, as well. Based on their experiences working on Wall Street, Mobile Steam Unit has crafted lyrics that hit home for anyone who’s worked in business. For those in New York City, this was an extremely relatable topic that resonated with crowd, who immediately broke into cheers when frontman Sam Huntington asked if anyone in attendance had ever worked on Wall Street.

Solemnly filing out in requisite business attire, the band began their set. Interestingly, Mobile Steam Unit has the uncanny ability to deftly span genres; they can do anything from rock to country to soul and beyond. With lyrical topics ranging from everything such as texting, Microsoft Office, and commuting, to name a few, they document the daily minutia of American life while keeping the crowd in hysterics. And during the last song of the set, Mobile Steam Unit surprised the audience by bringing out yoga dancers who tried, as best they could, to keep straight faces while striking poses throughout the song. It was an epic finish to their performance, rivaling that of Animal Years. Mobile Steam Unit is undoubtedly a tough act to follow.

Work takes up a good portion of our lives. By giving focus to this specific, and usually lamented, chore, Mobile Steam Unit has set themselves apart from other bands. By examining the workday through the lens of humor, Mobile Steam Unit is able to give rise to daily frustrations while enjoyably expelling them at the same time.

Check out their video for “Working Boy” below!

julien baker @ white eagle hall

julien baker @ white eagle hall

The audience at White Eagle Hall was already rapt before Julien Baker began her sold-out show. As she carefully stepped out onto the stage, sparsely illuminated with a background of lamps that resembled streetlights, the quiet was immediately enveloping; you could hear a pin drop in the dead silence between the faint clacks of camera shutters. Beginning with “Appointments,” the first full track off 2017’s Turn Out the Lights, feathery wisps of white light were strewn across the stage as Baker was suddenly blanketed in a shaft of soft purple lighting, as if a lavender-colored sun was leaking through a hole in the ceiling.

A Julien Baker show is mesmerizing; she holds everyone’s eyes in the palms of her hands. Her presence is almost ethereal; her gentle voice, at times fragile and delicate, can suddenly, grandly rise, soaring up into a vast melodic expanse. Small of stature and soft-spoken, Baker is solitary yet powerful, commanding the stage all by herself; a one-woman orchestra who can spin symphonies with just a guitar and piano.

Moving seamlessly through her set, Baker wasted little time between songs for banter, focused solely on her performance. The bulk of tracks played were from Turn Out the Lights, along with a smattering of Sprained Ankle. “Red Door,” an unreleased track, and “Funeral Pyre,” off an untitled EP, rounded out the show.

Towards the second half of the set, Baker invited her friend and violinist, Camille Faulkner, to accompany her, added a further layer of feeling and pathos.

“Something,” one of Baker’s most upbeat tunes, made up the encore with the whole venue singing. The moment she exited the stage, fans rushed to the front in an attempt to grab the setlist. This is the kind of fervor Baker inspires in her audience.

She makes her way back to the New York/New Jersey area in July, providing support for Courtney Barnett in Prospect Park.

dashboard confessional @ brooklyn steel

dashboard confessional @ brooklyn steel

In the beginning, there was one person and one instrument.  A man named Chris Carrabba wielded an acoustic guitar and managed to permeate the punk and emo scenes with his raw, lyrical candor. There were EPs, there were LPs. The second of those, The Places You Have Come to Fear the Most, scored Carrabba an MTV hit with the track “Screaming Infidelities.” And from there, his career exploded into full-fledged fame.

Dashboard Confessional later expanded. On Carrabba’s third LP, A Mark, A Mission, A Brand, A Scar, a full band was added, each instrument joining together to fill out his signature sound. The unparalleled strength of his voice was further heightened with this new musical intensity. Carrabba sings with such remarkable power and abandon, a hybrid of passion and fury that’s unmatched in his peers. He manages to hold notes for astonishingly long moments and can sing about love in hushed, delicate tones in the same breath as he can betrayal, unleashing the full force of his voice into an evocative wail. Simply put, Carrabba makes you feel, and he does so with a seeming effortlessness that enthusiastically resonates with his listeners. As Dashboard Confessional hasn’t stopped releasing records since their inception, Carrabba’s begun a veritable collection of fans, hoarding more and more of them with each successive release. His audience has now become intergenerational, and with Dashboard’s latest release, Crooked Shadows, it’s sure to speak to a new crop of teenagers while still delighting the fans who have been there since the beginning.

Embarking on a tour of comparatively smaller venues to promote Crooked Shadows, those who were lucky enough to score tickets to the sold-out show in New York piled into a packed Brooklyn Steel on March 29th. Fans rushed into the venue in swarms, making a fervent beeline to the floor in order to be as close to the stage as possible.

Carrabba walked out in his truest form, alone with his acoustic guitar. He asked if he could “play a deep cut,” to which everyone cheered as he launched into “This Bitter Pill,” the last track on the aforementioned The Places You Have Come to Fear the Most. When that ended, the rest of the band came out as they amped it up for “Don’t Wait,” off Dusk and Summer. The night was a family reunion. Carrabba vividly expressed his gratitude over and over again, not only thankful to be able to play music for a living, but to his fans, who allow him to do so. They responded wildly, their reaction signifying that the feeling was mutual.

Carrabba curated a setlist made up of songs off Crooked Shadows combined with some of his greatest hits from years past. Saving the best for last, Carrabba ended with three fan favorites: “Screaming Infidelities,” “Stolen,” and “Vindicated.” “Hands Down,” of course, made up the encore, leaving the crowd on the highest, most ecstatic note possible.

The future continues to shine on Dashboard Confessional.