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Set sail on the English Riviera: Metronomy 3.0

2 Feb

Metronomy

Finally. Metronomy's Nights Out topped my Best of 2008 list and, apart from the one-off "Not Made for Love" single in 2009, we've barely heard a peep from Joseph Mount since. That's about to change.

But first, there's some catching up to do. Up to that point Metronomy was basically Joseph Mount in the studio with guitarist Garbriel Stebbing and keyboardist/saxaphonist Oscar Cash brought in for live shows and videos. When Stebbing left the group in 2009 to form Your Twenties*, Mount decided to turn Metronomy in a real band, adding bassist Gbenga Adelekan and drummer Anna Prior.

This new Metronomy has been playing out for about a year or so but we're finally just now getting details on Metronomy's third album, The English Riviera, which is out April 11 on Because Music. The album's first single, "She Wants," was released on Monday as a free download. There's a widget further down the post to get it yourself.

While still retaining that signature Metronomy sound — watery, paranoid, off-kilter — "She Wants" definitely has a little more of a "band" feel to it whether or not . I guess you can dance to it, but I'd call it more groovy in a "Love is the Drug" kind of way than something that's going to fill the clubs. Which is not a criticism, I think it's pretty great.

More instantly astonishing is the accompanying video, directed by French duo Jul & Mat which you'll need to watch more than once to get your head around how they did it. I've watched it about six times and am still a bit amazed. Check it out below.

No word on who might be releasing The English Riviera in America but hopefully they'll step foot Stateside sooner than later. (Not coming to SXSW it doesn't look like.) They were great when last here at Union Hall.

The "She Wants" download widget and video are after the jump.

*No hard feelings, Mount is producing Your Twenties' debut album…which is way overdue.

(more…)

Sound Bites Best of 2008: Gigs

31 Dec

"Seeing Jarvis Cocker makes you realize that almost all other bands are chumps. This is how it's done. This is a show. This is charisma. This is It. You can't take your eyes off him. My #1 show of 2007 was his show at Webster Hall (and I hate Webster Hall) and this one was better."

And also these…

"Featuring members of infamous garage rock collective CPC Gangbangs, this was Red Mass' first-ever live show and clearly they wanted to make a statement. As their name would suggest, Red Mass were about 10 strong and all-clad in red… apart from the one dude who wore only a Speedo and gold paint."

"The Muslims played an astounding 10 shows during CMJ, and this was the last… 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."

Casiokids | Cake Shop | 10.25.2008

"…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."

Late of the Pier | Music Hall of Williamsburg | 10.22.2008

"These are youngsters but they rock like pros, pulling off the guitar heroics, the funky parts, everything. And we danced to it. Even more than the Klaxons, Late of the Pier seem to truly come from outer space. But they make it seem like the most natural thing on earth."

Women | Cake Shop | 10.21.2008

"Women are so much better live than on record. The album, while good, is a little too drenched in Animal Collective-style reverb, while onstage (or in Cake Shop's case, the floor) they hit pretty hard."

Kirsten Ketsjer | Lit Lounge | 10.16.2008

"This is the definition of power trio (not to compare them to Cream or anything, there's no bass), three as one — you know, very New Testament but in a rock sort of way… If you like Velvet Underground, Television, Bettie Serveert, the Greatful Dead, Marnie Stern, metal, indie rock, Denmark, spoken word, noodling, no-bass bands, twin-leads, or Nordic good looks… this might be the band for you."

This was a swoon-worthy night. The Bunnymen are 30 this year, hence this celebration of what they consider their crowning achievement with three shows: London, New York, and their hometown of Liverpool."The Killing Moon" is what a lot of people were there to hear, and many unbelievably left after that, but for me it was the album's more obscure gems that made my knees a bit weak. 

"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 slams his guitars around and whose eyes bug 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."

BOAT | Cake Shop | 8.17.2008

"If BOAT lived here instead of Seattle I have a feeling they'd be my favorite local band.  All their songs are catchy, and funny without being jokes. The band also has good stage banter and a penchant for props — big signs, confetti and shakers made out of Solo cups."

Witch Hats | Santos Party House | 8.11.2008

"Witch Hats really benefit from clear sound; the sludge turns into organized noise, even if it's just as loud. (Super loud!) It still takes a minute or two for hooks to break through the chaos, but they are there. Witch Hats are wild but with purpose, a bit gothy without looking the part, and possess a wise-ass sense of humor."

Metronomy | Union Hall | 8.01.2008

"Metronomy are better live than you think they're going to be. It probably has something to do with the stick-it-and-clickit lights they had affixed to their chests. Aware that they are three dudes playing keyboards and guitars and bass (and occasionally saxaphone and melodica) with no drummer and a fair amount of pre-programmed music, they know you have to give the audience something more if you want them to actually pay attention to you."

"We are in the midst of a heatwave here in New York with temperatures in the upper '90s during the day and only dropping to around 80 at night. I have spent a lot of it in semi-legal performance spaces with zero air conditioning. There has been a lot of sweating but Sic Alps were the first band I've seen all week that made it feel like the heat was being generated from the stage."

P
ants Yell! | Pianos | 6.13.2008

"A tight cohesive trio with a beast of a drummer, Pants Yell! were on fire in the packed room. On their excellent third album from late last year, Alison Statton, they sound polite, but live it's more hyperkinetic. You could even say they rocked."

"I texted my friend Don before they started: "There are like 10 girls here. Five are bartenders, the rest are here against their will." I was excited to see Swervedriver's first NYC show in ten years, but all this, um, dudeness was freaking me out. But then Swervedriver came out and just killed it. Like the last ten years never happened. Jaw-droppingly, why-aren't-you-still-a-band-and-making-records good."

"I know this wasn't the coolest show of the night (Sigur Ros) or the coolest show of Love Is All's visit (Cake Shop or Market Hotel win over this) but what show! And band-for-band one of the best I've seen this year."

Violens + Savoir Adore + Amazing Baby | Union Pool | 5.10.2008
"It pleases me greatly to go into a show mostly blind and come out a fan of every band on the bill. That never happens anymore. Maybe I'm just going to the wrong shows."

"This was the first night of their American tour for Elbow's great, just-released fourth album, The Seldom-Seen Kid which is full of the heartfelt mini-epics the band are so good at. Joined on this tour by two violist/backup singers, Elbow were grander than usual, but it was Garvey's charm, humor, and smokey voice that makes people lifetime fans."

"Liela Moss is a pistol. As much as you wanted to check out the rest of the band, it was hard to take your eyes off her. She knows what she's got and she knows how to work it. There is no doubt Moss is beautiful, but she's got the pipes to match and, obviously, a stage presence to hold it all together. Moss held the crowd but certainly the rest of the band kept her up. A lot of crushes were made Wednesday night but The Duke Spirit are the total package."

Liars | Warsaw | 2.09.2008

At 6-foot-somethingorother, Liars front man Angus Andrew is a magnetic, kind of menacing presence. Even in a raspberry colored suit. While sitting down. As you may have heard, Andrew threw out his back shortly before Liars were to begin their current tour with No Age so he's being doing the shows from a chair. (The accompanying table is a nice touch.) For some bands this might have been a major setback but it didn't seem to affect Liars' ferocious performance at Warsaw one iota.

"Jeepers, how good are The 1900s? It's been almost two years since I saw them open for Midlake at Mercury Lounge and had kind of forgotten how good they are. And they've gotten better since. Watching last night's fantastic show at Union Hall makes me wonder why I left their album Cold & Kind off my Best of 2007 list." 

Metronomy + White Williams | Union Hall | 8.01.2008

3 Aug

Metronomy_unionhall

Metronomy are better live than you think they're going to be. It probably has something to do with the stick-it-and-clickit lights they had affixed to their chests. Aware that they are three dudes playing keyboards and guitars and bass (and occasionally saxaphone and melodica) with no drummer and a fair amount of pre-programmed music, they know you have to give the audience something more if you want them to actually pay attention to you. Slapping their chests in between strums (plus LEDs on their wrists and instruments), Metronomy made their own low-rent light show which fits well with their DIY dance sound. They also dabbled in choreographed stage moves, all with a knowing sense of humor that was also apparent in Mount's between-song banter.

Devo is obviously an influence, and not just in the stage presentation. At first listen you might think they're just another UK band mining typical post-punk signposts, but instead of looking to Gang of Four, America seems to be the main influence. The jerky rhythms, skwonky keyboards and warbly sounds (everything seems to be run through chorus effects) are very Devo, and some of it also reminds me of Wall of Voodoo. But Mount has crafted a distinct sound over the last three years that is easily identified — both on Metronomy records but also the killer remixes he does for other artists.

Metronomy' are currently on a creative high. Their (his) forthcoming second album, Nights Out, has probably six songs that could be singles — a lot of them already have been, actually, as Mount's been trickling out releases over the last year. But with them all in one place, and still managing to sound like an album, not to mention some very high profile I think they're going to have a very good 2008.

MP3: Metronomy – A Thing for Me

MP3Goldfrapp – Happiness (Metronomy Remix feat The Teenagers)

Ww_unionhall
Opening this late-starting and somewhat sparsely-attended show was
unannounced special guest White Williams, who I hope stuck around to
watch Metronomy because he could sure learn a thing or two about how to
perform in front of an audience. Sterogum, Pitchfork, and others have
heaped praise on his debut album, Smoke,
which I have tried repeatedly to like but find kind of structureless apart from a couple good tracks. I'd seen White Williams perform twice before
and found him to be a snooze both times — but had heard he now had a drummer and a
bunch of new songs and was ready to give him another shot.

Live
percussion helped but White Williams still doesn't do much to connect
with the audience. He spent most of his time facing the side stage
wall, fiddling with his laptop and mixer. The sound was muddled, which
didn't help things, but I think the real problem is the songs just sort
of meander. His strength, at this point, are the interesting
arrangements and production flourishes which are actually really interesting. White Williams has great sounds,
he just needs to write some songs. (In the meantime, I'd love to hear him give remixing a try.) But he's young and hopefully this
will come. (It is also my personal tastes: Grizzly Bear and Animal
Collective are only just now becoming interesting to me.) Some of the
new material he tried out showed promise that might have been fulfilled
under better sonic circumstances. But he really, really needs to up his
game in the live arena if he's going to get anyone to care.

Also there: The Music Slut, who liked WW more than I did.

Two Nights Out with Metronomy

25 Jul

Metronomy: it's gotta be the shoes
Surely a contender for Record of 2008 is Metronomy‘s upcoming second album, Nights Out. It’s dance music, but poppy and skeletal and weird and fun and surprising. There is also whistling, which you don’t get enough of if you ask me. And no bad songs. “Heartbreaker” is my absolute favorite, which they’ve been playing live for more than a year.

MP3: Metronomy – Heartbreaker

Metronomy mounts a short North American tour starting next week with two stops in NYC. On Thursday they play a free show at Hiro Ballroom. You can RSVP here, though I found the process confusing and wasn’t sure whether I had successfully RSVP’d or not. On Friday they play Union Hall, which I’m definitely going to, where they will be playing with “very special guests.” Union Hall doesn’t usually kid around with their “we’ve got a surprise planned” so you might want to get your tickets now.

Here’s all the tourdates:

Jul 28 The Social,     Toronto, ON, Canada
Jul 29 Funky Buddha,     Chicago, IL, USA
Jul 30 Gypsy Hutt,     Cincinati, OH, USA
Jul 31 Hiro Ballroom,     New York, NY, USA
Aug 1 Union Hall, Brooklyn     Brooklyn, New York
Aug 2 MEG Festival,     Montreal, QC, Canada