Un, Deux, Trois, Cat! The Limiñanas + Gaz Gaz + The Gytters | Death by Audio | 8.17.2011

Death by Audio, one of Williamsburg’s longest running DIY spaces, is probably the perfect place to catch a couple French garage rock bands. It’s one of the few clubs in New York where you still leave smelling like an ashtray. I know it’s a stereotype but smoking and the French do pretty much go hand-in-hand. A lot more so than rock music and the French, though both The Limiñanas and Gaz Gaz proved that not all clichés hold true.

Mind you, both bands’ brand of rock n’ roll was as influenced by Serge Gainsbourg and Jacques Dutronc as it was the Velvet Underground and The Seeds. It’s when French bands try to sound American that it falls flat like a bad soufflé. Here we got lyrics spoken in cigarette-scarred baritone, melodicas, and a new wave cool that cannot be faked.

This was a two car garage, different makes and models from the same manufacturer. Gaz Gaz were of the caveman beat / party rock variety, not afraid to have fun, even braking out kazoos for “Iodine Summer Dream.”

When their set ended, the band changed into all-black clothing and there was some instrument switching, and a minimal drumkit (kick, snare, tom) was brought to the front of the stage. Lio and Marie Limiñana joined the rest of them and morphed into The Limiñanas. I was a little worried they wouldn’t be able to follow Gaz Gaz’s high-energy set, but once everyone settled into The Limiñanas’ motorik groove, it all hypnotic effortless cool from there.

MP3: Gaz Gaz – Faster (buy it)
MP3: The  Limiñanas – Funeral Baby (buy it)

Both The Limiñanas and Gaz Gaz play again tonight in NYC at Cake Shop with fellow Trouble in Mind artist The Wrong Words. Go see this show! They also play Columbus, OH tomorrow (8/19) and Lafayette, MO on Saturday (8/20).

There were American bands on the bill too. The Gytters are have only played a handful of shows but have figured out their sound, a twangy take on ’90s indie rock. Southern-fried Sebadoh? Maybe. They’re pretty good. (And, full disclosure, they’re friends of mine.) In addition to their own very catchy songs, we got a slightly shambolic take on Squeeze’s “Up the Junction.”

MP3: The Gytters – Dialed In (more at Bandcamp)

It was around that point in The Gytters’ set when I couldn’t help but notice a woman behind me dancing up a storm. I turned around briefly and immediately did a double-take: it was Frances McDormand who had, apparently, wandered in off the street. Randomest celebrity sighting ever. (Popjew, who booked the show, has more on her blog.) Maybe she’d come from seeing Buck at nearby Indiescreen or maybe dinner at uberhip new restaurant Isa? Who can say, but she didn’t stick around for the French portion of the evening. Her loss.

Golden Triangle | Death by Audio | 1.23.2009


The stage was draped in toilet paper and the drummer had a sheet strapped to his head that made him look a bit like the Elephant Man, but judging from photos of past Golden Triangle shows this was fairly toned down as far as spectacle goes. But you don't really need much in that department when you've got two ladies up from shaking tambourines like no tomorrow and wailing on the mike. Sounding a bit like Brix-era Fall or We've Got a Fuzzbox and We're Going to Use It or '60s girl group The What Four, Golden Triangle push all the right psych-garage-punk buttons for me. (Plus a very cute bassist.) Live, they stay just on the right side of chaos so that they never forget they're playing songs, but also allows for a finale that finds half the band on the floor. Not somewhere I'd personally like to end up at Death by Audio, but that's me.

 MP3: Golden Triangle – Prize Fighter

shake itThis is from their new EP on Kemado's vinyl-only imprint Mexican Summer. Like most of Golden Triangle's releases to date, it's super limited edition so get it while you can. Unlike their other releases, though, you can also get this one through Emusic.

The rest of the country (well, some of it) will get a chance to see these Brooklynites as they'll be hitting the road with King Khan & the Shrines in March… definitely a wild double-bill. Get there early. Tour dates:

Mar 9 Eckerd College ** St. Petersburg, Florida
Mar 10 Masquerade ** Atlanta, Georgia
Mar 12 Orange Peel ** Asheville, North Carolina
Mar 13 Exit In ** Nashville, Tennessee
Mar 14 Hi-Tone ** Memphis, Tennessee
Mar 15 One-Eyed Jacks ** New Orleans, Louisiana
Mar 16 Palladium Loft ** Dallas, Texas
Mar 17 The Warhol ** San Antonio, Texas
Mar 18 Club 1808 w/DarkMeat,StrangeBoys,Monotonix,ReverseXrays Austin, Texas
Mar 19 Mexican Summer Showcase @ Club 1808 w/Soft Pack, Crystal Stilts, Crystal Antlers, Vivian Girls Austin, Texas
Mar 21 Moose Lodge w/ many bands Austin, Texas
Mar 27 Don Pedros w/ the Weakends (FRANCE) brooklyn, New York

Also, video:

Crystal Stilts + caUSE co-MOTION | Death by Audio | 10.04.2008

Saturday night I saw two bands with standup female drummers. Before heading to Mercury Lounge see Glasvegas (standup drummer Caroline McKay), I went to Death by Audio to catch Crystals Stilts (standup drummer Frankie Rose) who were playing with their Slumberland label-mates caUSE co-MOTION. I really wasn't sure I was going to be able to see either of them. Death by Audio's set times would be loose if they actually posted them anywhere, and when I asked the two door persons what band was on next, they looked at each other before looking back at me and shrugging their shoulders. I had to leave DBA by 11:30 to catch Glasvegas… who knows when Crystal Stilts would go on.

To my surprise, Crystal Stilts went on before caUSE co-MOTION, taking the stage around 10:15. The room was packed (it's not that big, but everybody seemed to be there to see them) and almost pitch-black. The band seems to like to play in the dark. I've actually seen singer Brad Hargett unscrew lights before performances. I guess it suits their moody sound but they could learn a little from Glasvegas in this department, some strategically placed lights would do them a world of good.) 

Despite not being able to see them very well, you could certainly hear them and it was another good show by one of my favorite NYC bands. A band I've seen way too many times in the last six months, though to be fair, they've been hard to avoid, they play about twice a week here in NYC. Some might say it's too much gigging, but what it's really done is make Crystal Stilts really tight. There's little-to-no downtime between songs, even less stage banter (pretty much none), just good song after good song.

MP3Crystal Stilts – Shattered Shine (pre-order)

Crystal Stilts full-length debut, Alight of Night, is out October 28 and is one of the year's best albums. Great songs and production that is just high enough fidelity to do them justice. And they actually improve on the songs that were previously on their self-titled EP. That said, some of my current favorite Crystal Stilts songs have yet to be recorded.


The annoyingly capitalized caUSE co-MOTION (seriously you try typing their name more than once) are always a good match to Crystal Stilts, as they also love echo and reverb but traffic in short (under two minutes), spiky, nasally, pop songs in the Pastels or Joseph K mode. Where Crystal Stilts are fairly motionless, caUSE co-MOTION spazz out on-stage, especially the bassist is prone to high jumps. Songs can be a little samey but they whole thing is over before you realize it. They're good. Check out their compilation of 7" singles, "It's Time!", which is also out October 28.

MP3: caUSE co-MOTION – Which Way is Up? (pre-order)

caUSE co-MOTION open for Franz Ferdinand this Wednesday at Music Hall of Williamsburg, so get there early if you have tickets. If you don't, it's sold out but they'll be playing CMJ a bunch of times and then out on tour with Crystal Stilts where they'll finally make it out of the five boroughs…

Oct. 04 Brooklyn, NY Death By Audio
Oct. 23 New York, NY Pianos (Force Field PR CMJ Showcase)
Nov. 01 San Diego, CA Che Cafe
Nov. 02 Los Angeles, CA The Echo / Part Time Punks
Nov. 03 Oakland, CA House of Nostromo
Nov. 04 San Francisco, CA Bottom of the Hill
Nov. 05 Sacramento, CA Luigi's Fun Garden
Nov. 06 Eugene, OR Samurai Duck
Nov. 07 Portland, OR Holocene
Nov. 08 Olympia, WA The Big Room
Nov. 09 Seattle, WA Chop Suey

Crystal Stilts, caUSE co-MOTION Playing Saturday in Brooklyn, Touring Together Later, Putting Out Records, etc etc etc


Brooklynites Crystal Stilts and caUSE co-MOTION will be heading out on tour together in November right after the CMJ Music Marathon here in NYC. Nine dates, which, strangely, is also the number of times Crystal Stilts played in the NY area last week. I kid. But they play here a lot…and I went to most of the shows. They're also playing together this Saturday at Death by Audio for what will surely be a packed show.

Both bands have albums out on the newly-revitalized, newly hot Slumberland Records on October 28. Crystal Stilts will be releasing their much-anticipated debut album, Alight of Night, which I've listened to about 50 times, it's fantastic, and will be on my Best of 2008 list no doubt. With it's spooky, twangy, echo-out-the-wazoo vibe, it will also make the perfect acompanyment to that upcoming Halloween party. (Yet it reminds me of The Chills.) As for caUSE co-MOTION, "It's Time!", collects their five scratchy, blistering 7" singles, including the new "I Lie Awake" onto one CD. Not one of the songs on it reaches the two minute mark. Here's samples from both:

MP3: Crystal Stilts – Shattered Shine (pre-order)

MP3: caUSE co-MOTION – Which Way is Up? (pre-order)

Crystal Stilts/caUSE co-MOTION 2008 US Tour:

Oct. 04 Brooklyn, NY Death By Audio
Oct. 23 New York, NY Pianos (Force Field PR CMJ Showcase)
Nov. 01 San Diego, CA Che Cafe
Nov. 02 Los Angeles, CA The Echo / Part Time Punks
Nov. 03 Oakland, CA House of Nostromo
Nov. 04 San Francisco, CA Bottom of the Hill
Nov. 05 Sacramento, CA Luigi's Fun Garden
Nov. 06 Eugene, OR Samurai Duck
Nov. 07 Portland, OR Holocene
Nov. 08 Olympia, WA The Big Room
Nov. 09 Seattle, WA Chop Suey

Sic Alps + Thee Oh Sees + Ty Segall | Death by Audio | 9.28.2008



A sweaty, awesome night of three Bay Area garage rock bands playing variations on a theme. And I do mean sweaty. I thought the last time I saw Sic Alps at Death by Audio would've been the hottest show of the year, but actually Sunday night rivaled it, mainly due to 100% humidity thanks to Day Three of a Noreaster that had settled over the Tri-State area.

You'd think that storm might keep the crowds away, but it was a packed house — mainly there to see Thee Oh Sees. It was my first time seeing the quartet who played on the floor instead of the stage. Main Oh See John Dwyer is one of those mike eaters, it spending more time in his mouth than not, all the better to get that overdriven, distorted vocal sound. But I wouldn't want to be the band that used it after them. He's also a Give 100% performer, who slammed his guitars around (including a very cool 12-string that never seemed to go out of tune, which is amazing) and whose eyes bugged out a little when he sings. The rest of the band are no slouches either (they've got a whalloper of a drummer) and there was a nice interplay between Dwyer and Thee Oh Sees' other singer, Brigid Dawson. They played their hearts out.

MP3: Thee Oh Sees – Vsit Colonel
(buy it)

Sic Alps, who headlined the night, lost a lot of the crowd and momentum from the Oh Sees set due to taking forever to set up and not going on till after midnight on a Sunday. Not sure what the problem was, it's just two guys, but it was worth the wait. It's a thick, dirty sound that mirrored the humidity of the evening. Guitarist and main singer Mike Donovan, who plays barefoot (don't think I'd do that on the DBA stage) and eyes-closed, keeps the intensity levels high, while drummer (and Henry's Dress alum) Matt Hartman seems a little more loose, singing through a pencil-thin mike that seemed hand-picked for its ability to make his voice sound as tinny as possible. Between them was a towering, teetering rack of vintage reverb boxes and amps that looked more like a lifesize Jenga game than a soundsystem. But it obviously did something… they were loud as shit. The stage was bouncing, I'm shocked the monolith didn't fall over.

MP3: Sic Alps – Message From the Law
(buy it)

Joining Sic Alps for a few unrehearsed songs was the night's opener, Ty Segall, who fronts Epsilons but here was playing an impressive solo set. Like Sic Alps condensed to one person, Segall played guitar and drums and sang all at the same time. Yes it's a bit of a gimmick but he made it work thanks to some very good songs. Definitely check him out if he swings through your town.

MP3 Ty Segall – The Drag

Ty's solo album is out on John Dwyer's Castle Face records and I'd put in a buy-it link but darn if I can find one.

A few more pictures on my Flickr. Tour dates for Sic Alps and Thee Oh Sees after the jump…

Continue Reading

YellowFever | Death by Audio | 7.31.2008


There are no shortage of duos these days but I gotta say nobody else sounds quite like Austin’s YellowFever. Their sound couldn’t be more spare — usually just drums, the simplest guitar (often just single notes, not chords), and Jennifer Moore’s understated, kinda haunting voice. It’s that space inbetween the instrumentation that makes them so special. It’s a little bit like Young Marble Giants if Beth Orton was the singer instead of Alison Statton.

YellowFever are also multi-taskers. Drummer Adam Jones played bass via an analog synth, and on one song played guitar by hitting it with his stick, sliding up to the note. It was something else to watch. The two also switched positions on one song, with Jennifer strumming her guitar while managing to hit the snare  every third quarter note.

If anything was missing (the lineup used to be a trio) it was the lovely harmonies on the record. Luckily, at this show, Vivian Girls‘ Cassie and Katy were there at the front of the crowd, singing along with most of the songs, and hitting the harmony parts perfectly… which you could hear despite, you know, just being in the audience. It was that kind of show. You can even hear them (more singing along than harmony) on this video of “Alice” that I shot:

New York, you’ve got one more chance to catch YellowFever, as they play Cake Shop tonight. Jennifer said they’d be back this Fall too but if you’re not going to see Vivian Girls/Crystal Stilts/caUSE co-MOTION at Silent Barn or Metronomy and “secret guest” at Union Hall, I would highly highly recommend checking out YellowFever. Here are a couple MP3s:

MP3: YellowFever – Hellfire

MP3: YellowFever – Cats and Rats