Crystal Stilts + Los Fancy Free | The Fader Fort | 10.22.2008


The Crystal Stilts were scheduled to play but it was clear to me that they weren't going on next. I said as much to the girl and she said, "I think that person is in the band," pointing to a girl on stage wearing what looked like a paint-splattered chef's jacket. "No," I said. "This is definitely not the Crystal Stilts."

Two people took the stage and looked around nervously, and conferred with one of the stage managers at the Fader Fort, who took to the mike and announced for the drummer to please come to the stage. After a couple minutes, one of the two grabbed the mike and said, "We are Los Fancy Free from Mexico City. Our bassist is stuck at the airport and our drummer is here but missing so we are going to just go ahead and play."

What they lacked in members they made up for in enthusiasm. Singer Martin Thulin ran around the stage throwing flamboyant rock poses, climbing on the drums, the speakers, and jumping into the audience. The crowd was baffled but immediately won over, and when the drummer bounded onto stage midway through the second song it errupted in whooping and hollering. And Los Fancy Free reciprocated with hooping and hollering (and banging) of their own — not unlike the weird, sneery L.A. new wave of 1980. The crowd errupted again when the bassist made it from the airport to the stage for the last song. Thulin was beaming. From a technical standpoint the show was a disaster. From a rock n' roll one, it was a rousing sucess. 

MP3Los Fancy Free – Beatles Suit 

No idea what happened with the schedule but the Crystal Stilts did show up to play after Los Fancy Free. Maybe they were getting in an extra hour of sleep after playing till around 5AM the night before at Stereogum's party at Studio @ Webster Hall. Singer Brad Hargett seemed like it was the last place they wanted to be, but it was a pretty good short set nonetheless. In particular, they've got this new songs that I've heard four or five times now but have no idea the name of that is like goth Bo Didley, a 2/4 time bone-rattler that I don't seem to get tired of. Definitely the highlight. Anybody know the name of this one? Stereogum actually caught it on tape at their event:

Crystal Stilts are taking a break from allowing me to stalk them here in NYC to head out on tour with their Slumberland label-mates caUSE co-MOTION for a tour of the West Coast. Go see them if you can. Their debut album, Alight of Night, came out yesterday and is one of my favorites of 2008. 

MP3: Crystal Stilts – The Dazzled

Oct 31 Kenji Shack  Oxnard, California

Nov 1 Che Cafe  San Diego, California

Nov 2 The Echo  Los Angeles, California

Nov 3 House of Nostromo  Oakland, California

Nov 4 Bottom of the Hill  San Francisco, California

Nov 5 Luigi Fun Garden  sacremento, California

Nov 6 Samurai Duck  Eugene, Oregon

Nov 7 Holocene  Portland, Oregon

Nov 8 The Big Room  Olympia, Washington

Nov 9 Chop Suey  Seattle, Washington

CMJ 2008: The Muslims | Fader Fort, Pianos, Union Pool | 10.2008



Was talking to a fellow blogger after seeing The Muslims at the Fader Fort and asked him what he thought. “Unoriginal,” he replied. That’s kind of beside the point, I think. Originality can only get you so far, and it’s OK if you’re playing garage rock if you’ve got songs as good as The Muslims’. Plus, they’ve got the one thing you absolutely cannot fake — attitude. They’ve got bucketfuls of it.

The Muslims played an astounding 10 shows during CMJ and I ended up catching three of them, the best being the technically post-CMJ show at Union Pool on Sunday where the relaxed crowd (which seemed to include every band that hadn’t gone home already) had nowhere else to go and were there just to rock out. It was also a longer show and we got a couple more than the six song set they’d honed for CMJ, including both sides of their new single — “Parsites” and the blazing cover of Spacemen 3’s “Walking With Jesus.” Despite being obviously tired and guitarist Matty McLoughlin having his fingers wrapped in black electrical tape because he’d busted them open repeatedly over the week, with blood spattered all over his guitar, they played like it was their first show of the week.

MP3Muslims – Bright Side 

MP3Muslims – Parasites 

Buy some Muslims, won’t you?

And here’s video I shot of them performing “Beside Myself” at the Brooklyn Vegan day party at Knitting Factory:

CMJ 2007 | Yeasayer | R Bar + Fader Sideshow

I’ve now seen Yeasayer three times. The first was at the "none shall blog" show at Cake Shop. The other two were back-to-back day shows at CMJ — Friday at Brooklyn Vegan’s thing at R Bar, and then again at the neverending Bud Select and Soco-n-Lime schmoozefest ski lodge that was the Fader Sideshow. I hadn’t heard them before seeing them at Cake Shop, but had been told that they were "like TV on the Radio meets Talking Heads meets Animal Collective."

Which is utter crap. Yeasayer are, pure and simple, hippie music. Not wanky jam band hippie (though they would’ve been embraced at Bonaroo ’99), no, this is vintage 1969, flowers-in-their-hair hippie music… albeit with modern technology. If Randy California had had access to samplers, Spirit might’ve sounded a lot like Yeasayer. As someone who came of musical age in the 1980s, I have a deep-seated Eric Cartman-like hatred of hippies — even those that went to RISD. (Eric would especially hate YS’s bassist, whose awful jacket, side ponytail and mustache are pretty much indefensible, though he’s undeniably skilled with his fretless instrument.)

As much as I want to despise them, however, I don’t. Songs like "2080" and "Sunrise" are kind of undeniable singles, they nail the harmonies (sometimes four-part) and the band are engaging performers. I especially like guitarist Anand Wilder, who also wears an ugly jacket, but has an intrinsic grooviness that cannot be denied. (I also like drummer Luke Fasano’s crash cymbal, that looks like it’s been through a couple wars.) Dammit, I like them. 1989 Me would be appalled, but he’ll get over it in 18 years.

MP3: Yeasayer – Wait for the Summer (Buy Yeasayer’s All Hour Cymbals, out 10/22)

For those who live here in NYC, Yeasayer are having a record release party on Tuesday at Glasslands Gallery in Williamsburg. They’re not performing, it’s just a dance party, the prospect of which seemed to excite the band more than the idea of playing another show.