Rockscope - music behind the lens
Home About Archives

BRAIDS / Toro Y Moi @ Detroit Bar

April 11, 2011 - Costa Mesa, CA

by Samantha Saturday

BRAIDS @ Detroit Bar - Costa Mesa, CA - March 22, 2011 - photos by Samantha Saturday

Montreal-based BRAIDS has had a busy 2011, with their signing to Kanine Records, the release of their first LP Native Speaker and the acclaims that followed it. In addition to all of that, they've been touring throughout the country with Toro Y Moi - another proming new indie artist. The two groups recently played a gig at the intimiate Detroit Bar in Costa Mesa, CA, and our photographer Samantha Saturday was there to capture the action. If the tour brings them your way, be sure to check them out!

Click here for more photos!

Iron and Wine Covers George Michael's "One More Try"

March 15, 2011

Last year, the A.V. Club spawned a project called "A.V. Undercover," in which 25 indie bands came into a studio, picking a song to interpret off a list of 25 pre-chosen tunes. With each band that came in, the list dwindled down and the selections became more random and intriguing. Since the first series was wildly successful, they have decided to bring it back for a second season, so to speak. Although Iron And Wine, with their cover of George Michael's "One More Try", is technically the first band up, this particular song wasn't on the list. Instead, it was hand-chosen after complications made their initial choice go awry:
If you're a careful follower of A.V. Undercover, you'll know that "One More Try" by George Michael is not actually on this year's list. Here's what happened: Iron And Wine's Sam Beam chose "Islands In The Stream" to cover, and had a special guest lined up to sing with him. That special guest couldn't make it at the last minute, and rather than have Sam pick a different song from the list, we let him play one that he'd been itching to do anyway (and a song that feels completely in the spirit of Undercover).
It's only fair that Iron And Wine gets special treatment, eh? I mean, they're quite legendary by now. So click here to enjoy the first cover in the A.V. Undercover series, which also features Markéta Irglová of The Swell Season on backup vocals.

The Velvet Teen @ the Echo

March 11, 2011 - Los Angeles, CA

by Wei Shi

The Velvet Teen at the Echo in Los Angeles
The Velvet Teen @ the Echo - Los Angeles, CA - March 6, 2011 - Photos by Wei Shi

Unapologetic and electrifying, The Velvet Teen is the coffee that'll awaken your musical senses. Promoting their latest EP, No Star, the Northern California band rocked an energetic show at the Echo, Los Angeles last Sunday, March 6th, 2011.

Messes opened with melodic finger picking on acoustic guitar. The folk tunes occasionally offered bluesy undertones in addition to crisp vocals. Portland duo, Themes, switched it up next with moodier tracks.

The crowd gathered closer to the stage as The Velvet Teen set up. It felt like an intimate show between friends as guitarist, Matthew Izen, dropped some Wu-Tang Clan rhymes at the request of an audience member. Since the band's inception in 2000, they've seen some lineup changes before their current debut as a four piece. They've constantly re-invented their musical style with incredible results. Their first album, Out of the Fierce Parade (2002), was co-produced by Chris Walla (Death Cab for Cutie) and consisted of emo-punk anthems. Elysium (2004), however, yielded haunting piano/string orchestrations with a slower pace while Cum Laude! (2006)'s noise rock moved with frenetic energy and vocal distortion.

No matter which genre you prefer, it's undeniable that The Velvet Teen put on a great show. For one, there's none of that standing around like stoic statues crap. These guys know how to really move and play their instruments with passion. They thrash about as if they're holding onto wild animals and it's near impossible to not feel alive at their visceral sounds. The catchy riffs during "Radiapathy" charged up the audience while Josh Staples' heavy bass parts in "We Were Bound (To Bend the Rules)" felt deeply satisfying. Casey Deitz jammed on drums and Judah Nagler provided both the signature falsetto vocals and additional guitar parts. They played "Tokyoto" and "Noi Boi" as well as their environmentally conscious single, "No Star," from their newest EP. To wrap up the show, The Velvet Teen performed the fan favorite and endearingly pop, "Counting Backwards."

This is truly a band that deserves more recognition than they're given. Their previous albums were released on independent labels but they still boast a loyal fanbase. Upon speaking to Judah, he revealed that a full-length album is in the works; it will feature more acoustic as well as electronica elements. Until then, you can catch a few of their shows posted on their Facebook and check out their No Star EP. ~ Wei

Click here for more pictures of The Velvet Teen, Themes and Messes in Los Angeles!

The Concretes @ The Blue Lamp

March 6, 2011 - Sacramento, CA

by Samantha Saturday

The Concretes @ The Blue Lamp - Sacramento, CA - March 3, 2011 - Photos by Samantha Saturday

Having a charming, internationally known band like The Concretes pay a visit to Sacramento is always a treat. Fresh off Pacific Northwest dates, the Swedish pop-rockers graced the tiny stage at The Blue Lamp last Thursday. While the band usually consists of eight members, the group was whittled down to six for the live performance. Forgoing their additional female backup singers, The Concretes instead chose to keep it simple with singer Lisa Milberg on main vocals.

Surprisingly, the group opted to stick to their more sombre ballads with only a few up-tempo tunes, including 2004's "Say Something New," mixed in. While I had imagined local fans to be overjoyed to see the band in such an intimate venue, the crowd remained aloof during the set. The audience hardly responded when Milberg sweetly suggested everyone should move a little just before beginning their newest single "All Day" off WYWH. Despite the overly mellow crowd, Milberg announced that this was the band's first time in Sacramento and they "love it here."

Even though the Sacramento crowd remained fairly still during the show, the vibe within the room was definitely warming. Seeing Milberg and her bandmates exchange smiles that emanated like rays of sunlight brought a fuzzy feeling to the room. ~ Samantha

Click here for more pictures from The Concretes' Sacramento show!

Dum Dum Girls @ the Empty Bottle

March 3, 2011 - Chicago, IL

by Rory O'Connor

Dum Dum Girls @ the Empty Bottle - Chicago, IL - February 24, 2011 - Photos by Rory O'Connor

Dum Dum Girls, the all-girl four piece who stole our hearts last year with their fuzzed-out pop debut LP I Will Be, show no sign of slowing their pace in 2011. The group recently released a new EP, which expands upon their self-proclaimed "blissed out buzzsaw" aesthetic with title track "He Gets Me High" and a cover of The Smiths' iconic song "There is a Light that Never Goes Out" along with two other originals.

The girls have also been making their way throughout the US on a tour in support of the newest effort, and our Chicago photographer, Rory O'Connor, was at their Empty Bottle show last week to capture some photos.

Click here for more pictures of Dum Dum Girls' Chicago show!

Telekinesis @ the Echo

March 2, 2011 - Los Angeles, CA

By Wei Shi

Telekinesis at the Echo in Los Angeles, CA
Telekinesis @ the Echo - Los Angeles, CA - February 24, 2011 - Photos by Wei Shi

Michael Benjamin Lerner may play upbeat, power pop under the moniker Telekinesis but beneath those catchy tunes lies conflicted lyrics of loss and frustration. Perhaps the release of his sophomore album, 12 Desperate Straight Lines (Merge Records) around Valentine's Day this year perfectly suited both the ears of those happily in love and those that shunned the dreaded "L" word. Telekinesis stopped by the Echo last Thursday, February 24th and showed Los Angeles that Seattle still churns out excellent music.

Backed by two other musicians, Lerner stationed himself in the center of the stage with his drumset for the majority of the night. Sans his usual black-rimmed glasses, he recounted to the audience of their tumultuous journey to LA. Their van's starter broke in the shifty Tenderloin district of San Francisco and apparently Patton Oswalt's album got them through the tough times. Lerner conversed happily with the packed audience.

It's always interesting to see someone sing and play drums simultaneously; Lerner does both incredibly well. The beats are lively and urgent while his airy vocals float calmly throughout his songs. The night included newer tracks like, "Car Crash," and "You Turn Clear in the Sun," as well as older hits like, "Coast of Carolina," and "All of a Sudden." Telekinesis finished with an encore of "Awkward Kisser" and "Tokyo."

If you're hankering for a band that you can dance to while sobbing about the latest breakup, look no further. Even just listening to Telekinesis through headphones made it extremely difficult to write this review because of the urge get up and shimmy. ~ Wei Shi

Click here for more pictures from Telekinesis' show at the Echo!

New Video: Wavves - King of the Beach

February 28, 2011

Earlier today, Wavves premiered a new video for their tune "King of the Beach" which includes all the things one might expect from a Wavves clip: the beach, weed, counterfeiting money, and good times. Also in the video is a cameo by Snacks, Bethany Cosentino of Best Coast's cat, who is a natural star for sure, also proven by his appearance on Crazy For You's album cover. Even though the two groups been touring together for the past month or so, we all know the best bud status wasn't official until they start lending out furry friends to one another.

Robotanists Cover Radiohead's New Album

February 21, 2011

While the rest of us were too busy ogling dub videos of dancing Thom Yorke (Dancing Thom vs. Napoleon Dynamite, for example) from Radiohead's video for "Lotus Flower" since the recent release of their newest album, local LA outfit Robotanists decided to use the time more wisely.

In just 24 hours, the four-piece recorded covers of every single song off The King of Limbs, and have already released the album via their bandcamp. Stories like this make you feel bad about your lack of weekend productivity, don't they?

So get your butt over to bandcamp now for a free download of Robotanists' Radiohead covers! We promise you it's a lovely listen.

While you're also at it, get your butt to the Silverlake Lounge tonight for a free residency show if you fancy seeing them live (we know you do).

Electrelane is BACK!

February 16, 2011

We all know that a hiatus is the kiss of death for a band, or at the very least it's code for, "We'll be announcing our official break-up soon." That or, "We're going to let this band rot in its coma-like state until we're in coffins." Therefore, I was pained when I first discovered Electrelane and fell in love with their intensely driven, often instrumental indie rock music two years after they announced they weren't planning on playing together any more.

Just when all hope had vanished - after three years completely off the circuit, with no news or updates - the band made an announcement on their Myspace (guess they didn't hear since their years away that Myspace is dying, huh?) that they will return to live gigs this summer in the UK. HALLELUJAH! Among the shows will be an appearance at the Field Day festival in London.

Though no US shows have been planned thus far, I just might be Electrelane-starved enough to make my first visit oversees for them.

So there you have it, Electrelane fans. You can finally stop pining away and referencing the song lyrics "Come back, come back, come back to me!" from "To the East" as a plea for their return. They're BACK!

Downtown Music Festival

February 11, 2011

In celebration of their five year anniversary, Downtown Music will be hosting two shows in New York this March 4th and 5th, the first show at Webster Hall and the second at Terminal 5.

Night one includes performances by A-Trak, White Denim, The Suzan and rockscope favorites Art Brut and Lissy Trullie, while Terminal 5's gig has Miike Snow, Major Lazer & Santigold, and DJ Mehdi with So Me.

Though the second night is already sold out, you'd be a fool not to buy tickets for the first of the event. It's sure to be a great time between Art Brut and White Denim's energetic indie rock, Lissy Trullie's sheer magnetizing appeal and A-Trak to finish the night off with ass-shaking dance beats.

If you're still not convinced, you can download a free playlist of the artists over on RCRD LBL! Stay tuned in early March for more coverage on some of the Downtown Records festivities.

Related Posts:
Miike Snow @ Terminal 5 in New York, October 6, 2010
Watch Out: Lissy Trullie
Santigold @ Terminal 5 in New York, June 9, 2009

Interpol @ the Warfield Theater

February 4, 2011 - San Francisco, CA

By Amoreena Lucero

Interpol performs at the Warfield Theater in San Francisco, CA
Interpol @ the Warfield Theater - San Francisco, CA - January 31, 2011 - by Amoreena Lucero

One of indie rock's household names, Interpol, has had a whirlwind of a touring season since the release of their fourth album, last September's Interpol. Though they wrapped up an enormous tour spanning across the US, the UK and numerous other foreign cities just early last fall, they haven't decided to take a moment's rest. Among the scheduled US tour dates for early 2011 was at the Warfield Theater in San Francisco, and our photographer Amoreena Lucero was there to capture photos of the fan-packed show.

Click here to check out the photos!

School of Seven Bells @ the Warfield Theater

February 4, 2011 - San Francisco, CA

By Amoreena Lucero

School of Seven Bells @ The Warfield Theater - San Francisco, CA - January 31, 2011 - by Amoreena Lucero

After the release of their sophomore record Disconnect from Desire, School of Seven Bells saw busy months filled with tours and festival appearances. Most recently, just about a week ago, the band embarked on a tour opening for music veterans Interpol. And although the trio became a duo this past fall when Claudia Deheza departed the band, it's clear they are headed for escalating success and rise to popularity. After all, you'd have to be crazy not to fall head over heels for their hazy, dreamy brand of indie pop.

Amoreena Lucero was at School of Seven Bell's San Francisco date and nabbed some great shots of their performance.

Click here to check the rest of the photos out!

Video: Echo Lake - Young Silence

February 1, 2011

Liz Caruso

Ready for your daily mindfuck? If so, look no further than Echo Lake's new video for the title track off their Young Silence EP, which features otherworldly, ghost-like silhouettes of the band members as they perform the track.

While the visuals are eerie enough to be worth a mention, the real mindfuck is more in that this entire clip was recorded using a Microsoft Kinect and a bit of special software that the director, Dan Nixon, used to render and combine the images together into one cohesive video. Crazy, huh?

Echo Lake's Young Silence EP is set to drop this Valentine's Day on No Pain in Pop, and is definitely recommended to fans of shoegazey pop.

New Music: Vivian Girls - I Heard You Say

January 31, 2011

Liz Caruso

Though it's been a while since we've heard anything from Vivian Girls, there's been no shortage of news from their respective side projects. Between Katy Goodman's newest group La Sera, about to release their debut LP, and The Babies, Cassie Ramone's collaboration with Kevin Morby of Woods, it's a wonder the trio has any time left to focus on their main gig. Thankfully, the gals managed saved enough time to write and record new material for a third album, set to release April 12th. Share the Joy will be their first on Polyvinyl as well as a first with new drummer Fiona Campbell.

In spirit of the album's title, they are sharing the first single, a track entitled "I Heard You Say". While it still contains the acute girl group-like melodies and accompanying harmonies from their first two records, the thick layer of noise and grunge has been peeled away to reveal a cleaner, crisper sound.

Frontwoman Cassie Ramone herself says of the new LP, "The sound is more open, more free. I think that this album really shows our strengths as musicians, and shows us melding together musically. It's more psychedelic and less shoegaze. There's also a lot of organ on it, which is new for us."

Click here to grab a copy of "I Heard You Say" from Polyvinyl's website, or have a listen below!

Vivian Girls - I Heard You Say.mp3

Handsome Furs @ Lincoln Hall

January 28, 2011 - Chicago, IL

By Rory O'Connor

Handsome Furs @ Lincoln Hall - Chicago, IL - January 15, 2010 - by Rory O'Connor

During Chicago's recent Tomorrow Never Knows festival, Montreal synth rockers Handsome Furs played a one-off tour date at Lincoln Hall. Dan Broeckner, co-founder of the group with both bandmate and wife Alexei Perry, recently announced his hiatus from his other project - the highly acclaimed Wolf Parade - to focus on new material for Handsome Furs. It's no surprise, then, that the duo grasped this opportunity to play a set chock full of new tunes to an eager, fan-filled, sold out crowd.

via spinner
"The Furs opened with a brand new song, which featured skittering beats, electro tinges, heavy vibrations and early '80s influences. Over half of their set was comprised of new ones, some with just keys and the drum machine, and others with the guitar added. Before they performed a song they wrote just a few days ago, they confessed they hadn't played it all the way through yet and felt "terrified" to use the audience as "guinea pigs" -- but they nailed it. Another new one, 'Bury Me Standing,' continued the electro theme, while a song they've been playing live since 2009, 'Agony,' generated booming effects and major hair whipping."
Click here to check out Rory O'Connor's photos from the night! From the looks of it, this band is a force to be wreckoned with live. Fingers crossed they finish up the new tracks soon and bring it over to more of us waiting US cities!