Tag: The Knitting Factory — Brooklyn

New Video: Knife Knights Release a Lyrical and Bittersweet Meditation on Love Longing Loss and the Afterlife

Over the almost nine year’s of this site’s history, I’ve spilled a lot of virtual ink on Seattle, WA-based emcee, synth player and producer Ishmael Butler, who’s best known as a co-founding of two, critically applauded, groundbreaking hip-hop acts — JOVM mainstays Digable Planets and Shabazz Palaces. Just about a decade ago, Butler was preparing to publicly emerge from several years of near-complete creative silence, and in the summer of 2009, Shabazz Palaces quietly self-released a pair of EPs that quickly established the act’s unique sound and aesthetic: Butler’s hyper-literate verses full of complex inner and out rhyme scheme paired with psychedelic sonic textures and refracted rhythms. Initially, confidentiality was essential as Butler desperately wanted Shabazz Palaces to stand on its own strength and not on his long-held reputation, so he adopted a pseudonym for himself.

As Shabazz Palaces’ profile and network expanded, Butler recognized that he needed new monikers for his various creative pursuits and collaborations. Knife Knights, was the name that he devised for his work with the then-Seattle based engineer, producer, songwriter and film composer Erik Blood, who has also been a vital and important collaborator in the Shabazz Palaces Universe. Interestingly, Blood and Butler can trace their collaboration and their friendship back to when they were introduced to each other at a Spiritualized show in 2003 through a mutual friend, whom Butler was about to record with. As the story goes, Blood was a diehard and obsessive Digable Planets fan, and as an obsessive fan, he passed along a bootleg copy Blowout Comb for the mutual friend to have Butler sign — and Butler dutifully did so. 

Over the next few years, Blood and Butler would have chance encounters and sometimes during those encounters, they’d talk about possibly working together. Several years later, when Butler finally sent Blood a few songs to mix, their creative chemistry was obvious and immediate. That shouldn’t be surprising — Blood, as a huge hip-hop fan, has a always been an obsessive music listener and fan with eclectic tastes while Butler, a lifelong hip hop fan, began listening to and absorbing shoegaze and ambient soundscapes. Interestingly, every Shabazz Palaces album has featured a Blood and Butler collaboration, a collaboration that finds the duo specifically focused on and delighting at the intersection of shoegaze, ambient electronica and hip hop, actively and restlessly pushing hip hop towards new psychedelic textures. “He [Blood] takes my ideas and clarifies and pronounces them, helps me realize them,” explains Butler in press notes. “He helps me get to the essence.”

Knife Knight’s debut effort, 2018’s 1 Time Mirage came about after almost a decade of collaboration and the development of a very rich and dear friendship, and the album finds the duo and a cast of collaborators and friends creating a unique sound that meshes soul, shoegaze, hip-hop, drum ‘n’ bass, noise and chaos recorded over three separate sessions, interrupted by Shabazz Palaces and Digable Planets tour schedules and Blood’s recording projects. Each of those three sessions were treated as a free space for unfettered and radical exploration that resulted in album single “Low Key,” a track centered around a hazy production featuring tribal house-inspired beats and shimmering beats, over which Butler delivers his lyrics like a shamanic incantation.

I Time Mirage’s latest single “My Dreams Never Sleep” is centered round an equally hallucinogenic production featuring shimmering synths, a looping bass line, stuttering beats and dreamily delivered vocals. Interestingly, the recently released video for the new single was directed and animated by Joe Garber, and the accompanying visuals are a slow-burning, lyrical and lysergic meditation on love, longing, loss and letting go within both the mortal and spiritual planes. 

Advertisements

Over the past few years, I’ve written a lot about JOVM Mainstay David Alexander, an internationally renowned Malmo, Sweden-born singer/songwriter, multi-instrumentalist, electronic producer and electronic music artist, best known for his solo electro pop/dream pop recording project Summer Heart. Now, as you may recall, the Swedish-born singer/songwriter, multi-instrumentalist, electronic producer and electronic music artist has released a batch of singles in a single-of-the-month series that he has dubbed 12 Songs of Summer. According to Alexander, the series allows him to “show people what I am currently working on instead of what I was doing two years ago, which can be the case if you release an album. It’s definitely a way of challenging myself, thinking less and having more fun creating music!”

Just as Alexander is about to embark on a 16 date East Coast tour with New York-based electronic music artist and producer Brothertiger, the acclaimed Swedish artist released the last track of the series, the woozy and percussive “Buckle Up.” Centered around an ethereal melody, thumping beats, lush vocal harmonies and a sinuous groove, the track evokes swooning and youthful and somewhat uncertain love.

I was working with my friend Chris in his bedroom in Greenpoint, Brooklyn at that point. We had bought smoothies from Brooklyn Standard and were just fooling around” Alexander says of the song’s creation. “I’m normally a Logic Pro guy, but we started this new track in Ableton Live and called it ‘Groovie,’ wanting to make it exactly what the name suggests. I just couldn’t make it happen in Ableton but we wrote the track and bounced a rough demo of it anyway. I had it on repeat in my headphones for quite a while before I knew where I wanted to take it. I put all the stems we had recorded into Logic and started messing around with them. The track changed quite drastically and became a bit more up-tempo. The lyrics are about falling in love with someone that doesn’t fit your criteria – someone you didn’t expect to fall in love with.”

As for the tour, it begins tomorrow night at The Knitting Factory. For the rest of the dates, check them out below.

 

L I V E

(East Coast of America with Brothertiger)

 

Feb 21 Brooklyn, NY – Knitting Factory

Feb 22 Washington DC – Songbyrd Vinyl Lounge

Feb 23 Norfolk, VA – Charlie’s American Café

Feb 24 Greenville, SC – Radio Room

Feb 26 Atlanta, GA – 529 bar

Feb 27 New Orleans, LA – Gasa Gasa

Feb 28 Houston, TX – Continental Club

March 1 Austin, TX – Barracuda

March 2 Dallas, TX – RBC

March 3 Tulsa, OK – Chimera Lounge

March 5 Kansas City, MO – Riot Room

March 6 Chicago, IL – Beat Kitchen

March 7 Bloomington, IN – The Bishop

March 8 Columbus, OH – Spacebar

March 9 Pittsburgh, PA – Cattivo

March 10 Philadelphia, PA – PhilaMOCA

 

Throughout this site’s eight-plus year history, I’ve written quite a bit about JOVM mainstay David Alexander, an internationally renowned Malmo, Sweden-born singer/songwriter, multi-instrumentalist, electronic producer and electronic music artist, best known for his solo electro pop/dream pop recording project Summer Heart. Over the past year, Alexander has released a single of the month series, 12 Songs of Summer, and according to the Swedish-born singer/songwriter, multi-instrumentalist, electronic music producer and electronic music artist the series allows him to “show people what I am currently working on instead do what I was doing two years ago, which can be the case if you release an album. It’s definitely a way of challenging myself, thinking less and having more fun creating music!”

The series last single “Touch” is a woozy bit of Teddy Riley and Timbaland-era R&B influenced synth pop centered around arpeggiated keys, wobbling bass, an infectious hook and Alexander’s tender falsetto — and reportedly influenced by Toro Y Moi and Animal Collective, the new single is swooning yet dance floor friendly bit of pop that feels and sounds mischievously anachronistic, as though it could have been released in 1989, 2009 or 2019. 

Alexander will be embarking on a 16 date Stateside tour with frequent tourmate Brothertiger that will begin with a February 21, 2019 stop at The Knitting Factory. Check out the rest of the tour dates below. 

 

Tour Dates

Feb 21 Brooklyn, NY – Knitting Factory
Feb 22 Washington DC – Songbyrd Vinyl Lounge
Feb 23 Norfolk, VA – TBA Productions
Feb 24 Greenville, SC – Radio Room
Feb 26 Atlanta, GA – 529 bar
Feb 27 New Orleans, LA – Gasa Gasa
Feb 28 Houston, TX – Continental Club
March 1 Austin, TX – Barracuda
March 2 Dallas, TX – RBC
March 3 Tulsa, OK – Chimera Lounge
March 5 Kansas City, MO – Riot Room
March 6, Chicago, IL – Beat Kitchen
March 7 Bloomington, IN – The Bishop
March 8 Columbus, OH – Spacebar
March 9 Pittsburgh, PA – Cattivo
March 10 Philadelphia, PA – PhilaMOCA

With Brothertiger

 

New Video: Mother Feather’s Ass-Kicking Death Match Visuals for “Red Hot Metal”

Comprised of Ann Courtney (vocals), Elizabeth Carena (vocals, keys), Chris Foley (guitar), Gunnar Olsen (drums), and the band’s newest member Seth Ondracek (bass), the Brooklyn-based rock/heavy metal act Mother Feather quickly emerged into the national spotlight with their 2016 self-titled, full-length debut. The Brooklyn-based metal quartet played 41 dates of that year’s Warped Tour, went on a series of sold-out UK dates, which featured a live session for BBC Radio 1 Rock Show, played sets at Rock On The Range and Carolina Rebellion — and they opened for The B52s.

Building upon a growing national and international profile, the Brooklyn-based metal quintet’s sophomore album Constellation Baby will be officially released on Friday through Metal Blade Records and Black Light Media. And interestingly enough, the album finds the band expanding upon their high-energy “pop cock rock” in an ambitious, kicking ass and taking names fashion while retaining the raw, playful and feminine energy that won them attention. Of course, upping the ante isn’t a small feat. As the band’s Ann Courtney says of the album and its writing sessions “All I knew was that I needed the new album to be awesome. ‘Mother Feather’ is such an empowered album, and when I began working on the new material, I was really struggling to feel that way. I knew this album needed to be even better than the first, and to capitalize on its momentum it had to happen quickly. It was a tremendous amount of pressure to put myself under, and it was a dragon I knew I wanted to slay alone – at least at the beginning.” So Courtney locked herself away to write, to face her depression and stare down some deeply uncomfortable feelings. “Truthfully, I went to some very dark and lonely places. But once I let myself go there, that’s when the album started to take shape. There’s a lot of fever and intimacy in those songs. I laid myself bare.”

With her bandmates assisting Courtney to fully-flesh out and realize the album’s material, the end result is reportedly a collection that’s cathartic and exuberant. We are diving way deeper into the question, ‘Who is Mother Feather?'” Courtney says, “and I think that the answer is extremely emotional. It’s eclectic, but it all sounds like Mother Feather. This album will definitely expand what that means.” Adds Courtney, “It definitely wasn’t a given that things would come together though. It was hard won, even back to the writing. Everyone in the band went way out of their way to make it happen because we wanted it to happen. Everyone had something to say. Ideas were pushed to the limit and the result is the collective combination of those forces of energy. We were extremely vigilant about working through ideas. Stuff got worked, and it got worked again. In spite of the challenges — personal, financial, artistic — we all tried really hard to work together and create the thing that everyone meant, collectively.”

Album single “Red Hot Metal” is centered around power chord-based riffs, thunderous drumming, enormous, raise-your -beer-to the-sky-and-shout-along, arena rock-friendly hook sand pop belter harmonies delivered by Courtney and Carena. Sonically, the song recalls Heart, Lita Ford and 80s hair metal, complete with the swaggering confidence of old pros, whose songs have a bigger purpose. 

Directed by Michael Thackray, the recently released video for “Red Hot Metal”  stars wrestlers Maria Manic and Matt “The Bulldozer” Tremont grappling in a sweaty and bloody death match. For a significant portion of the match, Manic looks as though she’ll lose — until she gets help from the members of Mother Feather. 

The Brooklyn-based metal quintet is playing a record release show later tonight at The Knitting Factory and it looks like it’ll be a helluva time. 

New Video: JOVM Mainstays Stereo Off Return with a Decidedly 80s Synth Pop Inspired Single and Video

Over the past three years I’ve written a bit about the New York-based indie rock/electro pop outfit Stereo Off, and as you may recall, the band initially was the solo project of its frontman and founding member Sebastian Marciano before expanding into a quintet featuring an eclectic array of friends and collaborators from NYC and London. Within a year or so of expanding into a full-fledged band, the band had played at a number of renowned venues across town including The Knitting Factory, Glasslands Gallery and others. Adding to growing profile, the members of Stereo Off had their music featured in several short films that made the national film festival circuit, and they promptly released their first two recorded efforts — 2014’s New York EP and 2015’s The Long Hot Winter EP,  an effort which helped land a  CMJ Festival appearance.

After a series of lineup changes, the band has settled into a core trio that features its founder and frontman, Nial Madden, a longtime guitarist, who switched to bass on most of the material that comprises their most recent effort, EP III and multi-instrumentalist Bridget Fitzgerald. Naturally, with a lineup change, its common for a band to have a corresponding change of songwriting approach and sonic direction — and in the case of the JOVM mainstays, their sound had generally leaned heavily in the direction of New Order, Primal Scream and Nine Inch Nails-like synth pop/synth rock, featuring the occasional violin arrangement; however, EP III’s latest single “Sunsetting” may arguably be the most summery single they’ve released to date, while finding the band expanding upon their sound with the song seemingly nodding at Avalon-era Roxy Music, thanks to James McElwaine’s soulful and sultry saxophone lines, 80s synth funk and contemporary electro pop in a slick, seamless fashion.

Directed by Deviant Children Productions’ Nicholas Ortiz, the recently released video features the band and James McElwaine performing the song in an 80s-like night club and stars Krystal Pizarro, Sasha A Wilson and  Aleks Ivanovic, some fuzzy VHS-like tape hiss and static, a car chase and some steamy, late night hooking up between two of the video’s protagonists — all of which evoke wild, Miami Vice-like summer nights in the city.

With the release of their highly praised debut EP Minority Girl, the attention-grabbing Brooklyn-based punk rock act Grim Streaker quickly made a name for themselves for an in- your- face-sound and approach that possesses elements of New Wave, noise rock, goth, skater punk, punk and No Wave while drawing comparisons to Twin Peaks, Perfect Pussy and White Lung. Adding to a growing profile, the members of the band, Amelia Bushell (vocals), Daniel Peskin (guitar), Micah Weisberg (guitar), Bill Dvorak (bass) and Piyal Basu (drums), have shared bills with JOVM mainstays METZ and A Place to Bury Strangers, as well as Thunderpussy and Jacuzzi Boys.

The up-and-coming Brooklyn-based punk rock outfit’s latest single “Mojito” will further cement their reputation for crafting snarling and feral punk rock that sounds explosive and unhinged — and evokes a wild night, spiraling out of control. Interestingly, as the band’s Amelia Bushell told Talkhouse, the band’s latest single was inspired by what she describes as an  “unforgettable and bizarre experience that would later influence the surreal lyrics to ‘Mojito.’” As she told Talkhouse:

“Not long after arriving in Cuba, my friends and I met a couple, Chelsea and Taylor, who were heading to Trinidad the same day as us. Chelsea had been before, and told us we absolutely could not miss the secret club hidden in a cave at the top of a hill: ‘Meet us at the cave bar! 10 PM. Just keep following the road up the hill. You’ll think you’ve gone too far but keep going. We’ll be there.’ It sounded unreal.

We arrived in Trinidad the next day, had a late dinner and began the long trek to the cave as the sun began to set. It was exactly as Chelsea had described it. For what seemed like an eternity, we wandered up a dark, twisting road, with nobody in sight.

Just as we began to worry we had taken a wrong turn, the distant sound of a cocktail shaker cut through the night, and a tiny light came into our vision. We stumbled closer over the rough cobblestones. There – in the middle of a pitch-black mountainside road – was a man with a tiny cart, making mojitos.

We each bought a mojito and continued up the steep hill, thinking we must be on the right track now. Just a few steps later, another mojito cart appeared, seemingly out of nowhere. We chugged the first round, ordered a second, and joked about how we should stop at every single cart we saw (we did).

When we finally made it to the top of the hill, we were surprised to see a small crowd standing outside the entrance to the cave. It was real! We couldn’t believe it. Chelsea and Taylor appeared moments later. After a suspenseful wait, the doors creaked open and we made our way down a long staircase into multiple chambers of cavernous glory. It was like nothing I had ever seen before. People were smoking, drinking and dancing in the dimly-lit subterranean club. There were disco lights, a full bar, music and even restrooms.

After we stumbled out of the cave at the end of the night, we decided to go on a mojito ‘pilgrimage’ down the mountain, once again stopping at every single mojito cart. After three or four more mojitos, we got take-away pizza at the bottom of the hill and headed back to our hostel.

I vaguely remember waking up the next day completely naked and feeling as hungover as ever. I figured some fresh air and a walk would do me good, and started up the street toward the town center. On the way I passed the remnants of the pizza I was eating the night before, now spewed all over the road, and laughed out loud.”

Grim Streaker’s new single comes as they announced a handful of dates this summer that includes a show tonight at Baby’s All Right and an August 18, 2018 stop at the Knitting Factory. Check out the tour dates below.

Grim Streaker on Tour:
7/29: Brooklyn, NY @ Baby’s All Right (w/ Bass Drum of Death)
8/18: Brooklyn, NY @ Knitting Factory (w/ Agent Orange)
8/20: Columbus, OH @ The Tree Bar
8/21: Chicago, IL @ Charm School
8/22: Detroit, MI @ Trixie’s
8/23: Toronto, ON @ Monarch Tavern
8/24: Montreal, QC @ L’Esco (w/ FRIGS)
8/25: Quebec City, QC @ Le Knock-Out