Mosho Moshi Presents: Casiokids + Slow Club + Mumford & Sons | Cameo | 3.15.2009



The weekend before the South by Southwest music festival, New York get's its own mini-version of it, with bands from Australia, UK, Europe and Canada all making pit-stops here before heading down to Austin. The folks from London indie label Moshi Moshi threw a party last night that actually felt like you were already at the fest. The crowd was littered with other bands (Bjorn Yttling of PBJ, Dev "Lightspeed Champion" Hines, members of Post War Years and The Promised Us Jetpacks) and you had to walk through a restaurant to get to the "venue." It was a fun night.

Mumford and Sons can really sing and hearing their four-part harmonies, which they hit you with immediately upon taking stage, knocks you back a bit. It's a bit like Fleet Foxes in that way, though there's more depth to M&S's voices. Musically, though, these Londoners are nothing like those Sub Pop folkies, with a soulful bluegrass/celtic bent and some really nice songs from frontman Marcus Johnstone. There was a lot of instrument switching and tuning of banjos and mandolins, which made for some downtime in between songs, and they joked about this: "This is New York," intoned banjo player Winston, imitating some record label type. "Don't fuck it up." Though harmonies are key, Marcus' voice in particular is very strong, and the Nick Drake comparisons he's probably sick of are fairly appropriate. He is also a hell of a drummer, which he used to do in Laura Marling's band, and did so here for Mumford and Sons final number of the night.

MP3: Mumford and Sons – Sister

Mumford and Sons play Mercury Lounge tonight at 9:30. Definitely worth checking out, especially with the club's nice sound system. Their debut album, Notes from the Treehouse, is out in April in the UK.

Slow Club were next and pretty much charmed the pants off everyone. It will take much restraint to write about them and not repeatedly type the words "charming" "cute." But they are sooo cute. And their songs are sooo charming. The boy/girl dynamic here is just about perfect with Rebecca on vocal/drums and Charles on vocals/guitar and have more than are done in he-said-she-said style. There's also a melancholy streak (not unlike Emmy the Great) that keeps things from being, you know, cute overload. I'm not sure they've quite captured their charm on record (maybe their holiday single "Christmas TV" which they performed sans amplification) but you just smile the whole time while watching them. 

MP3: Slow Club – Christmas TV

Slow Club play the Delancey tonight and its a free show with fellow Brits Post War Years and We Have Band, who I also saw this weekend and are worth checking out. And if you have proof of unemployment there's a free shot of tequila waiting for you. 

The band I was most looking forward to seeing was Norway's Casiokids who played my single favorite performance during CMJ 2008. But this was not Casiokids finest hour. A new club, Cameo was having some sound problems and frontman Ketil was clearly distracted by it. But the short set gained steam as it went and by the time they played both sides of their great new Moshi Moshi single "Verdens Storste Land" and "Fot I Hose" the crowd was dancing. Casiokids play tonight at the Bell House, which has a great soundsystem, so that shouldn't be a problem. They also play tomorrow at the Annex. Go see them if you can.

MP3: Casiokids – Verdens Storste Land (Buy from Moshi Moshi)

Cameo is located in the back of the Lovin' Cup Cafe (which used to be Anytime) and is a nice little space that maybe holds about 100 people. It was a little too dark for my tastes, and there was a discoball that was only used for about ten minutes. But it's new and they'll figure it out. It's a welcome addition to the neighborhood.

Casiokids: New Single, Coming to NYC, SXSW


Casiokids' second single for Moshi Moshi is out today and both sides are great. Instrumental "Fot I Hose" has a big fat synth bass hook that is hard to get out of your head (and has a hilarious video), but I think I prefer the flip, "Verdens Storste Land," probably because it was the absolute highlight of their great CMJ show at Cake Shop.

MP3: Casiokids - Verdens Storste Land (buy it from Moshi Moshi)

The Norwegians are attacking SXSW with eight performances in four days, plus two shows in NYC beforehand. I'll definitely be at the Bell House on March 16, get tickets now

Mar 16 Bell House / Øya festival showcase w/the New Wine New York City (US)
Mar 17 the Annex New York (US), New York
Mar 18 SXSW / Hype machine / Blog fresh party @ peckerheads Austin (US), Texas
Mar 18 SXSW / Moshi Moshi / Club 1808 Austin (US), Texas
Mar 19 SXSW / Moshi Moshi / The Red House Pizzeria Austin (US), Texas
Mar 19 SXSW / Øya festival showcase @ the music gym Austin (US), Texas
Mar 20 SXSW / Green owl showcase @ tba Austin, Texas
Mar 20 SXSW / Big stereo showcase @ Canvas bar & gallery Austin, Texas
Mar 21 SXSW / Moshi Moshi / Lamberts Austin (US), Texas
Mar 21 SXSW / SESAC day stage conference centre Austin (US), Texas

And here's the video to "Fot I Hose"

And live footage of "Verdens Storste Land" I shot from CMJ:

Soundbites Best of 2008 | Singles, Tracks + EPs


So here's my list of best singles, album tracks, and EPs from 2008. Unlike my Best Albums List, songs that were from a 2007 album but were released as singles in 2008 are eligible. But single reissues are not. (Which is why "Time to Pretend," Friendly Fires and Pacific are absent from my list.) With the concept of the "album" diminishing in this world of digital downloads, singles are becoming more important. I'm not calling the death knell for the Album, but if groups whose music leans toward the poppy and immediate side of things wanted to just release singles or EPs every couple months instead of a full-length, I'd be okay with it. As I've said before singles are ephemeral in nature, and though I've hit my yearly limit on a few of the songs on this list, there was certainly a period of time in 2008 where all 50 of these were stuck on repeat.

1. Mystery Jets feat. Laura Marling – Young Love (MP3) (Video)
The most inventive, deceptively simple (but actually kind of crazy complex; listen to all the little flourishes), repeatedly-rewarding pop song of the year. Great video too.

2. Metronomy – Heartbreaker (MP3) (Video)
Fantastic bassline + creaky doors + whistling = my second favorite song of the year.

3. The Pains of Being Pure at Heart – Everything With You (MP3) (Video)
A great big hug wrapped in a fuzzy indie pop sweater.    

4. Violens – Violent Sensation Descends (MP3
Loud Quiet Loud as has never quite been done like this before. I can't wait for their full-length.

5. Dizzee Rascal w/ Calvin Harris – Dance Wiv Me (MP3) (Video)
I've never been much of a Dizzee fan, but add Calvin's '80s-style production and you've got a dancefloor killer.

6. Sam Sparro – Black and Gold (Video)
The rest of this album does nothing for me but "Black and Gold"'s glammy throb is irresistible.

7. TV on the Radio – Golden Age (Video)
2008 was the year of Change and TVotR made the perfect soundtrack. This is the sound of hope with a good beat.

8. Sexy Kids – Sisters Are Forever (MP3)
Just try not to bounce 'round the room while listening to this slice of Scottish pop perfection a la Altered Images.

9. Esser – Headlock (MP3) (Video)
Effervescent single, ridiculously catchy, like superballs set free inside a perpetual motion machine… yet loaded with downer lyrics like "I've got a problem, it's called living." Perfect.

10. Summer Cats – Lonely Planet (MP3) (Video)

Like the Rosebuds backed by Stereolab, Australia's Summer Cats put a sunny coat of paint on the krauty VU groove. 

11. Metronomy – A Thing for Me (MP3) (Video)
I could put almost all of Metronomy's Nights Out on this list, but restrained myself at two. Be sure to check out the video to this one.

12. David Byrne & Brian Eno – Strange Overtones (MP3
Too bad the rest of the Byrne/Eno album didn't deliver on the promise of this great single.

13. Sky Larkin – Fossil, I (Video)
Old school indie rock done with vim and vigor by this Leeds, UK trio. Vim and vigor? Really. Just listen to the song. It rocks. 

14. Lykke Li – Little Bit (Video)
Lykke Li's coquettish delivery slightly disguises just how hot this is.

15. Ida Maria – Queen of the World (MP3) (Video)
One of the most joyous songs ever about being smashed on whiskey.

16. MGMT – Kids (Video)
Hate their fashion, hate their friends, hate their rich hippie-ness, but MGMT have some great songs. The hooks are undeniable!

17. Girls – Lust for Life / Morning Light (MP3) (MP3) (Video)
There are too many "Girl" groups right now, but I've got room for San Francisco's shoegaze folk rock wunderkinds. Especially on this double A-side.

18. Animal Collective – Water Curses EP (MP3) (Video)
Animal Collective have finally started to get poppy enough for me to genuine like them. Bring on Merriweather Post Pavillion!

19. Late of the Pier – Heartbeat (MP3) (Video)
One of the many "this shouldn't work" songs on LotP's great debut Fantasy Black Channel. Yet it does, brilliantly.

20. Vivian Girls – Tell the World (MP3) (Video)
Every time these girls open their mouths to the press, it's a disaster, but give 'em instruments and hard
to hold it against them. So many things in that sentence could be construed the wrong way.

21. Casiokids – Grønt Lys I Alle Ledd / Togens Hule (MP3) (Video)
You don't need to speak Norwegian to dig this double A-side. I imagine it would help, though. But not that much.

22. The Last Shadow Puppets – Standing Next to Me (MP3) (Video)
Alex Turner and Miles Kane seem a little young to already be going through their Jacques Brel/Scott Walker period, but that's also probably why it's as good as it is.

23. The Wild Beasts – The Devil's Crayon (MP3) (Video)
Not since the days of the Associates and the Triffids has pop attempted to be so grandiose… and successful at it. I must say I can't really stomach the resto of them album, but but "The Devil's Crayon" is a bullseye.

24. Adele – Cold Shoulder (Video)
I'll take Adele over Duffy any day… "Cold Shoulder" perfectly-produced soulful pop. Ronson-produced, natch.

25. Amazing Baby – Infinite Fucking Cross EP (download EP) (Video + Video)
Hated by Brooklynvegan commenters, loved by me. Harder, more-rocking Roxy Music? About as close to a good description as you can get with there pigeonhole-adverse Williamsburg residents.

26 – 50 after the jump…

Continue Reading

Casiokids Come Back to NYC/SXSW in March

Yes I know this is totally blurry but I really like this picture.

Norway's Casiokids were hands-down the best, most fun show I saw at CMJ this year — usually it takes Hot Chip to make me dance in public. And I'm glad to report they're coming back to the U.S. in March for SXSW with a stop in NYC along the way. They're playing The Bell House on March 16 as part of an all-Norwegian showcase being currated by the Øya Festival folks. Also on the bill are fellow Bergen-ites The New Wine. Maybe there will be a third added too. I know it's not till March, but I'm excited. Here's a track from their double-A-side Moshi Moshi single:

MP3: Casiokids – Grønt Lys i Alle Ledd  

MP3: The New Wine – I Had to Tell You

Before that, Casiokids' profile is likely to be much higher as they nabbed the opening slot to Of Montreal's European tour. Around the same time as the Bell House show, March 2 to be specific, Casiokids will release their second Moshi Moshi single, "Verdens største land," which was the song that really killed the crowd at Cake Shop during CMJ. Casiokids just added it to their MySpace page so have a listen. I shot video of them doing that song, well until my flash card's memory ran out:

CMJ 2008: Casiokids | Cake Shop | 10.25.2008


I do understand when people say Cake Shop is the best venue in the city. If you are at the very front of the stage and the band you're watching is is bringing it, it can be an amazing show. I experienced a little Cake Shop Joy on Saturday night watching Norway's Casiokids which was maybe the single funnest show I attended the whole week of CMJ.

In Norway, Casiokids' shows involve props, shadow puppets, papier mache heads, streamers and balloons, but judging by this show they don't need all that to make a great party. Armed with a bunch of bargain basement keyboards (most of which were, yes, Casios), homemade shakers (that I thought were bottles of some weird creamy drink till they started shaking them), and a whole lot of enthusiasm, Casiokids barreled through a 25-minute set — once they finally got all their equipment to work. While I'm not so crazy about their 2007 debut, Fuck Midi!, they did mostly new material at Cake Shop and all of it was great. Poppier, funkier, better. 

We got both sides of their new Moshi Moshi double A side, "Gront Lys I Alle Ledd" and "Togens Hule," which is apparently the first Norwegian language single ever released in the UK. Um, hooray? Don't understand a word, but you can dance to it.  My favorite, though, is what will be Casiokids' next single, the name of which I don't know and probably couldn't pronounce if I did. It was at this point that Ketil squeezed through their wall of keyboards, past the monitors and got face-to-face with the crowd, basically standing directly in front of me the whole time. My friend Erin said it looked like I was being serenaded. I don't know about that but this video is pretty up-close and personal. And far too short — my memory card was nearly full:

Here's a MySpace rip of another of the show's highlights, an instrumental called "Fot I Hose":

MP3Casiokids – Fot I Hose

You can download Fuck Midi! from Emusic. I've searched for download stores that have the Moshi Moshi single but nothing's turned up yet but you can stream it on their MySpace, and there's a live version on The Ivy League Sessions. Casiokids, please come back soon!