April 1 , 2006

Issue IV:
Escape from NY
White Hassle,SXSW,
and Mardi Gras


05/22 - 05/28/2006






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For this week's New York Night Train show list go here. For information about the venues go here. Click the names in bold to learn more about the artists.


Monday May 22, 2006

Frog Eyes

Frog Eyes, Sunset Rubdown, Beirut - Mercury Lounge $12 (sold out)
This night of buzz bands leaves enough embarrassingly obvious choices that I feel like going back to recommending less-trendy locals like Hi Red Center or Reverend Vince once again, but I’ll have to say that, in this Plato’s cave that is the 21st Century “indie” music industry, in which the publicists are king and the fans are white collar workers, some of the stuff is still pretty good despite everything. Art Brut, who gets a disproportionate amount of attention, isn’t the worst post-punky joke band, and Gnarls Barkley, whose “Crazy” is more smooth, safe, and sane than crazy, is a fairly decent soul/hip hop thing. But the big Pitchfork-glutton blogger-fest, which is of course sold out two nights, is the Frog Eyes, Sunset Rubdown, and Beirut show at Mercury Lounge. This is one of those rare bills in which the two openers, Sunset Rubdown and Beirut, have a bit more buzz than the headliner – which is a shame because Frog Eyes, who’s spent years honing their craft, is the most accomplished outfit of the bunch. And, the reason that I’m recommending a sold out show is that I imagine that, if you get to the Mercury after Sunset Rubdown, they may just let you in to see them there Frog Eyes. And, if you need evidence that they’ve been on the right track for some time, Absolutely Kosher just re-released their first two, The Golden River and The Bloody Hand. Frog Eyes keyboardist, the cute’n’cuddly Spencer Krug, who’s a bit of a rock star for his pivotal role in Wolf Parade, is the leader of Sunset Rubdown, whose new album, Shut Up I Am Dreaming, has just enough familiar collegey pop elements for the office set saliva and enough unique ideas for a couple of spins from folks whose taste runs a bit on the more esoteric edge of midbrow – like myself. My only problem with the Rubdown is that Krug’s David Bowie imitation, as opposed to Frog Eyes singer Carey Mercer’s, which also chock full o'cool Tom Verlaine-isms, is soooo fake-British, over the top, and affected that it sometimes grates on me a bit too much until I recognize the fact that, despite my pleading otherwise, the vocalists for my bands also tend to sing in British accents from mysterious origins and do so with sincerity. Finally, it’s taken a nineteen-year-old named Zach Condon, AKA the opener Beirut, to introduce the indie crowd to the ethnic sounds and rhythms that are invisibly all around them in the first place. His songs contain a fun fusion of indie pop with schmaltz and folk elements from as far south as Mediterranean, north through the Balkans, and all the way up to the Baltic. Condon’s “Bratislava” is so spirited and exotic that it makes me doubt that the youngster’s actually been there – as its Eastern Block housing enveloping an austere faded Hapsburg center is nothing like his belly-dance fest – which gives me even more respect for this whipper-snapper – taking his crayon to old black and white postcards and sending ‘em to the Brooklyn vegans. See ya at the Cake Shop or Black Betty.


Frog Eyes, "The Oscilator's Hum" MP3
Sunset Rubdown, "Stadiums and Shrines" MP3
Beirut, "Postcards from Italy" MP3
Beirut, "Mount Wroclai (Idle Days)" MP3

Art Brut - Soundfix Records FREE
Gnarls Barkley - Webster Hall $25/$30
Hi Red Center, Killer Whales, Ned Muffleburger Band – Cake Shop $6 (toddpnyc.com)
Josephine Foster, The Cherry Blossoms - Tonic $10
Reverend Vince Anderson and his Love Choir – Black Betty FREE


Go to NYNT's Live Archive here



© New York Night Train , 2005