August 21, 2009

The Dead Weather at Terminal 5, NYC, 7/17/09

Meet the Dead Weather: Jack White of the White Stripes and the Raconteurs, Alison Mosshart of the Kills, Dean Fertita of the Queens of the Stone Age, and Jack Lawrence of the Raconteurs. White drums and Mosshart sings—that’s all you really need to know. Oh, and they’re dirty as hell.

I mean really dirty. The four band members slither on stage, black hair over their faces, ready to rock. They wear an aggressive amount of leather, and adorn their stage with a backdrop of what looks like a Death Eater from Harry Potter. In their encore, they cover Pentagram, AKA the originators of doom-metal, and they spew lyrics like “I like to grab you by the hair/And drag you to the devil.” It feels a little bit like being in the movie Blade.

The band’s Nashville origin explains much: dusty and raw, this is the kind of badass bluesy grunge rock that could only come from the South. When asked about the sound of his new band, White replies, “Perfect. Ferocious.” That about sums it up. But for all of us who revere Jack White, this is a bit of a change. He’s traded in his former candystriper colors for black and taken a seat at the drums—but certainly not a backseat. Throughout the show the crowd worshipped White’s every move; the minute he even looked at his guitar, the place exploded. But Mosshart isn’t one to be upstaged. She literally gets as close to the front of the stage as she can, at times climbing up onto the front amp, her lean body teetering over the crowd

After performing nearly every song off their album Horehound, the band finishes the set with “Will There Be Enough Water?,” or in other words, the Dead Weather does O Brother, Where Art Thou. White finally takes over on guitar, ready to shred, while Mosshart stands to the side, eyes glued to White as she sucks on her cigarette. This song brings the show’s best moment, when White and Mosshart sing lip to lip on either side of a single mic like a strung out Lady and the Tramp. Not only is it perfect and ferocious, but it’s also the sexiest thing anyone’s ever seen.

Moby- Wait for Me (Little Idiot/Mute)

“Gone are the lovely ladies from ‘Last Night’, replaced by the lonely little idiot,” declares Moby. In the wake of last summer’s club-worthy Last Night, Moby’s ninth studio record, Wait for Me, is startling in its sobriety. Moby’s intention in making Wait for Me is “to make something very personal, very melodic, very beautiful”; his success is no surprise. He is the Renaissance man of music, a master of sound for both the club and the bedroom (and by ‘bedroom’ I don’t just mean a sexy place). All in all, Wait for Me is beautifully crafted, full of gorgeous, heart-swelling melancholy, seeped with a vulnerability that his other albums lack.

Accompanying the sixteen-track album are two music videos: “Pale Horses,” a Sharpie-drawn cartoon by Moby, and “Shot in the Back of the Head,” courtesy of David Byrne. “Pale Horses” finds the ‘lonely little idiot,’ who appears to be just a little Moby alien, wandering friendless up to the moon, drawing into existence other little Moby aliens who melt when it rains. It’s like Harold and the Purple Crayon, but for adults. It’s really quite sad. If for no other reason, I recommend buying the album just to witness what Moby can do with a Sharpie.

August 9, 2009

This week's heavy hitters

The Phenomenal Handclap Band

The Phenomenal Handclap Band: Cute guys and gals from NYC with cool psychadelic love rock. Everyone sings so everyone wins, especially with two hottie-hot femmes at the front. Where do bands get girls who look like this (see also: Au Revoire Simone, the Plasticines, School of Seven Bells)? “Testimony” is great.

The xx: Four punky lookin’ Brits lay out subtly sexy but obviously cool songs like “Crystallised” and "Shelter.”

Cold Cave: Dark-wavey, 80’s industrial sound from Philly’s Wesley Eisold. Think Joy Division. Think black. Think good.

Air France: This summer's best music comes from two Swedish guys who make perfect pop. They’re the kind of songs that make you so happy you want to cry. See for yourself with “Collapsing at Your Doorstep” and “GBC Belongs to Us.”

Casiokids: The title of their blog (“Happyjokes”) says it all. These Norwegian popsters make catchy electro tunes with Norwegian names.