Still Corners | Glasslands | 3.12.2011


When Tessa Murray cracked a big smile and said “Thanks we’re really happy to be here” at her band Still Corners‘ show at Glasslands, I was a little surprised. Her icy stage presence seemed descended directly from the Warhol camp of stoic Superstars, her only movement was to turn her head to the side just so when she wasn’t singing. The epitome of cool. Her voice told you everything you needed to know anyway, kind of chilly too (and breathy at times), but very pure and powerful. It took me aback when she first started to sing. Wow.

This was Still Corners’ first-ever U.S. show, a stop in NYC before heading down to SXSW. Brand new Sub Pop signees, the band have only a few songs most of us had heard — lovey melancholic singles “Don’t Fall in Love (which they didn’t play) and “Endless Summer” (which they did). I left duly impressed by the rest of the band as well. There sound is part ’60s soundtrack music (Barry, Morricone), part psych pop (Strawberry Alarm Clock, VU) and a big dose of motorik Kraut, as heard in a very Neu!-esque instrumental.

One of the two guitarists was armed with an arsenal of vintage pedals, including an absolutely killer vibrato that send chills up my spine. A guy I knew casually, who just happened to be there and knew nothing about the band at all, leaned over to me and said, “It’s like Portishead without the trip hop!” And you know, that’s about right. And that’s a compliment. I also thought of The Soundcarriers too. I can’t wait to hear more.

If you’re going to SXSW, Still Corners are playing a slew of shows including one on Thursday at the Dot Com Day Stage in the convention center I curated for BrooklynVegan. (Frankie & the Heartstrings and Erland & the Carnival also play.) If you can, see an indoors show or one in the evening. They are definitely a “night” band. If you’re not going to Austin, Still Corners are touring with labelmates Papercuts in the U.S. after the fest. Do go if you can.

MP3: Still Corners – Endless Summer

To most people, Endless Summer is a good thing. I’m not so sure these guys mean it that way. Tour dates and a couple more pictures are below.

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Veronica Falls | Glasslands | 5.15.2010

I gotta say I wasn't expecting Veronica Falls to be as loud and rockin' as they were. Have you see their press photos? They look like you could knock them over with a feather. And as much as I love, love, love their single "Found Love in a Graveyard," it's on the gentle side. At least on record. When they played it live last night at their first-ever New York show, they tore into their instruments with an extended midsection that woulda made David Gedge proud. No other way to put it: they rocked. 

Short set, as befits a band whose second single is still a couple weeks away. We got "Graveyard" and it's b-sides from both the UK (the Pastels-y "Stephen") and American (Roky Erickson's "Starry Eyes") pressings. "Starry Eyes" was probably the highlight of the night, a rare case where a band covers a song and truly makes it their own.In addition to handful of songs previously unheard on these shores was the driving next single, "Beachy Head," which is a real showoff for drummer Patrick Doyle's bashing skills. I'd definitely want them on my side in a fight.

MP3: Veronica Falls – Starry Eyes

Veronica Falls play Bruar Falls tonight, you should definitely come out for it. Boston tomorrow, then back to us for the NYC Popfest on Thursday at Cake Shop. VIdeo of "Stephen" and a new song after the jump.

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Real Estate + (The Sounds of) Kaleidoscope | Glasslands Gallery | 3.02.2009


Sometime in the last two months, Glasslands got a face lift. What was for years a ramshackle space that smelled of stale Colt 45 and tempura paint has become a legit venue. Wood paneling and trim now covers the loft area. The grimy old couches underneath have been replaced by what looks like church pews. The stage has been raised by a foot or so and gone is their nautical sculpture behind it, with projection screens taking their place. There's now a sandwich nook where you can buy tasty Italian creations on Napoli Bakery bread. The bar now takes credit cards. I would actually come just to hang out.

But they place has some kinks to work out in the electrical department. About 20 seconds into Real Estate's first song, the stage lights went dark and the PA went silent. After a couple times of this happening, the sound guy goes up to the stage, unscrews some of the lights and the show finally goes on, louder and darker. Luckily, Real Estate are a low light kind of band, what I like to call "lazy Sunday music." Languidly paced, with gentle strumming and lead guitar that intertwines with bass played high on the neck so it's almost like a second guitar. Loads of reverb. Dreamy melodies. Perfect for a warm kitchen, reading the paper and eating English muffins. Or a freezing cold Tuesday evening in Williamsburg.

There's a New Zealand thing going on here (The Jean Paul Sartre Experience comes to mind) and, of course, Galaxie 500. (A comparison that's hard not to make when the DJ plays "4th of July" the second the band says goodnight, which I thought was a little too on-the-nose.) Real Estate are very good. The band only have a 7" out at this point (on Underwater Peoples Records) but expect a flurry of releases in the next few months: a 12" on Mexican Summer, and a 7" and LP on Woodsist. You're going to be hearing a lot about them in the coming months. 

MP3: Real Estate – Old Folks (buy it on vinyl)

You can see them a lot too. If you live in NYC, they're playing the apartment/venue Dead Herring on Friday, and then there are lots more dates (SXSW and beyond) which you can find out about if you make it to the bottom of this post, as are a couple very dark YouTube videos from the show.

Where the power outages brought Real Estate to a standstill, Philadelphia's (The Sound of) Kaleidoscope barreled through at least three such snafus without every acknowledging anything was wrong. I'd never heard them before (though they've been together since the '90s apparently and used to feature The Ropers' rhythm section) but immediately took to their heavy, acid rock, psychedelic, shoegazy sound. Their drummer is an absolute beast. Great stuff, and definitely worth checking out next time they're in town. They've got a new album, All This Heaven, which isn't really available anywhere yet besides their shows. Here's a song from their debut:

MP3: (The Sounds of) Kaleidoscope – New Language

*DJ in question was Will Roan of Amazing Baby, who in general played amazing stuff all night: Kinks, Altered Images, Harry Nilsson, Thunderclap Newman…so good on ya, Will

Videos and tour dates after da jump…

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Heavy Trash + Witch Hats | Glasslands Gallery | 8.08.2008


On the way home from All Points West my friend Kelly texted me, asking if I was going to Glasslands that night to see Heavy Trash. I wrote back saying I wasn't planning on it but as I live only a few blocks away and I would definitely be back in time for it, I said sure why not?

Admission, I had no idea who Heavy Trash were. Well, it would turn out I did know… I just didn't know it yet. Heavy Trash is Jon Spencer's rockabilly band with Matt Verta-Ray of Madder Rose. Blues Explosion was never my scene, though they were always great live, so I haven't really followed his career, obviously, but I was excited to see Spencer play somewhere this small and grungy.

If you're not familiar with Heavy Trash, Spencer does the same to rockabilly as he did to the blues — he explodes it. Well not really, but he does have that certain intensity so this is more Hazil Adkins than Chuck Berry. Spencer looks good in a suit, even when sweating up a storm — and it was hot in Glasslands.

Things got a bit wilder when King Khan showed up, complete with film crew, to once again steal steal some limelight from yet another band (he did it at McCarren Pool with Deerhunter and the Black Lips) though it was obvious it had been planned out in advance. It was a fun little surprise but I think I'm Khan-ed out for a while.

MP3: Heavy Trash – Way Out

Another surprise was Australian band Witch Hats who I also knew nothing about but ended up buying their record afterwards. Tall and skinny with Jesus & Mary Chain hairdos, they laid down a thick layer of of fuzzy, slightly gothy garage rock (think early-'80s Fall), powered by one of the best drummers I've seen in a long time. They were loud enough to knock you back a bit and I was annoyed with myself that I'd forgotten to bring earplugs. I could've done with a little less sludge and bet they're just a powerhouse with a good mix.

MP3: Witch Hats – Summer of Pain

The might just get a better mix tonight when Witch Hats and Heavy Trash play Santos Party House. If you're not too tired from the weekend, I highly recommend checking them out. And even if you are tired, these two bands will probably wake you up.

Here Come the Girls

San Francisco’s boy-boy duo, The Girls, invade NYC this weekend for the first time with their feedback-drenched pop. RCRDLBL has two songs to download but the jam is “Morning Light” and here’s the video:

Really good, right? The Girls play Glasslands with The Crystal Stilts on Saturday night, which in my opinion is a must-see double bill (yes I know Siren is early in the day but we can rally, people!) but here are all the NYC dates:

Jul 17 Market Hotel (Stereogum / Anthem Magazine party)     New York
Jul 18 The Delancey     New York
Jul 19 Supreme Trading (early show)   Brooklyn, New York
Jul 19 Glasslands     brooklyn, New York


Hello Blue Roses | Glassland Gallery | 2.16.2008

"Playing live sucks," Dan Bejar joked, or sort of joked, in consolation as Sydney Vermont struggled finding the chords on her acoustic guitar in the low lighting of Glasslands Gallery. She had started and restarted the song about eight times and was clearly ready to move on to the next one but gbave it one last go and muddled through.

It was that kind of show. Hello Blue Roses, Bejar’s other other group with his Girfriend Vermont, hadn’t played a live show in 18 months, with Bejar adding, "our last show was 18 minutes long. Tonight we’re determined to top 30!"  The stops and starts probably helped extend the show well into record length. They played maybe eight songs, mainly with Vermont singing and occasional flute, and Bejar on Guitar and occasional vocals. The set was loose, jokey and had a distinct ’70s folk vibe to it — I kept thinking of Judy Collins for some reason. Probably the flute.

Despite having a New Pornographer (and Destoyer) in the house, Glasslands was crowded but definitely not packed. Carl Newman was in the house, as was the Phosphorecent guy. Not an essential show, but glad I went.

MP3: Hello Blue Roses – Sunny Skies
(Buy it)

I shot video of the same song:

Better pictures at Brooklyn Vegan.