Blog Archives

Wooden Shjips: May 22, 2019 Brooklyn Bowl

May 24, 2019
By

We here at nyctaper are fans of all things Ripley Johnson. Of late, that’s meant attending the shows of his excellent project Moon Duo, who’ve graced us here in NYC several times in the past few years. But as for his larger vehicle Wooden Shjips, it’s been since 2012 that we’ve caught a live show by the band.

I’m happy to say that drought has now ended, with a show worthy of the wait. Ripley and his bandmates rolled into Brooklyn Bowl with purpose and a light show that almost made you forget you were in a bowling alley. This set spanned the band’s entire career, including their most accessible album to date, V. Two of that album’s strongest songs, “Ride On” and “Staring at the Sun,” provided a mellow tempo downshift in the middle of a set that was largely a burner, including the very-early album track “Death’s Not Your Friend” into a Ripley-fied version of the VU’s “What Goes On” to close out the main set. Not to be ignored, too, is the band’s cover of New Zealand psych lords Snapper’s “Buddy,” which we’d last seen them play in 2011.

Ripley has another important piece of news today: It’s the release date of his latest project, Rose City Band, the name a nod to his current hometown of Portland. Hopefully we’ll be seeing them around these parts before too long — and it’ll be a shorter distance between our next cruise with the Shjips.

I recorded this set with MBHO microphones up front in the venue. The sound quality is excellent. Hope you dig it!

Download the complete set: [FLAC/Apple Lossless/MP3]

Wooden Shjips
2019-05-22
Brooklyn Bowl
Brooklyn, NY USA

Recorded and produced by acidjack for nyctaper.com

MBHO KA200N>MBP603a (FOB, ROC)>Sound Devices MixPre 6>24/48 WAV>Adobe Audition CC>Izotope Ozone 5>Audacity 2.2.2>FLAC ( level 8 )

Tracks [Total Time: 1:14:44]
01 Eclipse
02 In the Fall
03 For So Long
04 Other Stars
05 Ride On
06 Staring at the Sun
07 Motorbike
08 Ghouls
09 Lazy Bones
10 Death’s Not Your Friend>What Goes On
11 These Shadows
12 Buddy [Snapper]

PLEASE SUPPORT Wooden Shjips: Buy their records from Thrill Jockey | Website

Ryley Walker / David Grubbs / Ryan Jewell / C. Spencer Yeh: March 26, 2019 Union Pool

April 15, 2019
By

Ryley Walker’s March residency at Union Pool covered all the bases of Walker’s sound, from relatively “straight-ahead” song-based performances to instrumental blowouts with friends and colleagues like Ryan Jewell and Steve Gunn. Count this final night’s performance firmly in the latter camp, as Walker and residency mainstay Jewell were joined by David Grubbs (Gastr del Sol, others) and C. Spencer Yeh (Burning Star Core) for a full set of avant-garde experimentation that found Walker stepping away from the mic but fully present as guitarist and spiritual force.

Ryley Walker’s March residency at Union Pool covered all the bases of Walker’s sound, from relatively “straight-ahead” song-based performances to instrumental blowouts with friends and colleagues like Ryan Jewell and Steve Gunn. Count this final night’s performance firmly in the latter camp, as Walker and residency mainstay Jewell were joined by David Grubbs (Gastr del Sol, others) and C. Spencer Yeh (Burning Star Core) for a full set of avant-garde experimentation that found Walker stepping away from the mic but fully present as guitarist and spiritual force.

Over the course of these residency shows (plus bonus Queens show), I’ve said my piece about Ryley Walker and “who” he is musically, so I won’t belabor the point. Suffice it to say that even if you follow all things Walker, this unique collaboration is a standout, something not likely to be repeated. Walker made it known what an honor it was for him to play with these musicians. It was equally our honor to have heard it.

I recorded this set in the same manner as the other Union Pool shows, with Doug Graham’s outstanding house mix leading the way. Enjoy!

Thanks to Union Pool and Will S for continuing to book and host interesting and experimental music in north Brooklyn.

Download the complete show from its Live Music Archive page.

Ryley Walker/David Grubbs/Ryan Jewell/C. Spencer Yeh
2019-03-26 (Residency Night 4)
Union Pool
Brooklyn, NY  USA

Recorded and produced by acidjack

Soundboard (engineer: Doug Graham) + Schoeps MK5c (XY, at SBD)>KC5>CMC6>>Sound Devices MixPre 6>24/48 polyWAV>Adobe Audition CC>Izotope Ozone 5>Audacity 2.3.0>FLAC ( level 8 )

Tracks
01 UP Quartet Jam Pt 1
02 UP Quartet Jam Pt 2
03 UP Quartet Jam Pt 3
04 UP Quartet Jam Pt 4
05 UP Quartet Jam Pt 5

PLEASE SUPPORT RYLEY WALKER: Bandcamp | Dead Oceans

Garcia Peoples: March 24, 2019 Trans-Pecos

April 3, 2019
By

Those in the know around these parts have probably seen Garcia Peoples a handful of times or more by now — they’ve maintained a hyperkinetic schedule of local and tour shows that would be the envy of any hungry young band.

Listen to this set from Trans-Pecos a couple Sundays ago and you can understand why no promoter ever says no to these guys . This band is absolutely on fire right now, its players dialed in to a level that normally takes years. Being a private event, this was a “play what you want” set for the band, and they took that to heart, leading off with an extended improv that transitioned into their cover of “Laila Pt 2” by Agitation Free (which we first heard at Union Pool) followed by “High Noon Violence” from their brand-new breakout album, Natural Facts. After a spot-on “Total Yang,” the band were joined by Ryley Walker for an extended 16-minute improv that found Walker joining Tom Malach and Danny Arakaki as a third guitarist. Adding to the special nature of the proceedings, the band was joined by semi-regular member Pat Gubler (aka P.G. Six) on keys.

As the writer Jesse Jarnow memorably puts it, Garcia Peoples are “your heady, friendly reminder that it’s alright to let the sunshine in”. Arakaki, Malach, Derek Spaldo (bass) and Cesar Arakaki (drums) are after something here that’s so much more than being a Grateful Dead-referencing tribute band. In fact, their principal resemblance to a musician named Garcia is that each of these guys are skilled musicians with a hot improvisational streak, rarely playing a song the same way twice. Their sound lives in a zone all its own, and seems sure to cast a wide net far beyond the GD/Phish crowd. It’s no accident that they cover the likes of Agitation Free and Relatively Clean Rivers more frequently than, say, this alchemical rendition of “The Other One” with Chris Forsyth.

So yes, New York-based heads will probably end up seeing Garcia Peoples whether they specifically plan to or not. But really, you ought to plan to. A band this good should be top of mind for anyone who cares about how the best live music should sound.

I recorded this set with a soundboard feed and Schoeps MK5 cardiod microphones onstage. The sound quality is excellent. Enjoy!

Download the complete show from its Live Music Archive page.

Garcia Peoples
2019-03-24
Trans-Pecos
Queens, NY  USA

Recorded and produced by acidjack

Schoeps MK5c (onstage, XY)>KC5>CMC6 + Soundboard>>Sound Devices MixPre6>24/48 polyWAV>Adobe Audition CC>Izotope Ozone 5>Audacity 2.3.0>FLAC ( level 8 )

Tracks
01 Jam>
02 Laila Pt. 2 [Agitation Free]>
03 High Noon Violence
04 [banter]
05 Total Yang
06 Pecos jam*

* w/ Ryley Walker

PLEASE SUPPORT GARCIA PEOPLES: bandcamp | Facebook

Ryley Walker & Ryan Jewell: March 24, 2019 Trans-Pecos

April 2, 2019
By

Making music is an act of generosity — the sharing of your inner self with a public that may or may not appreciate or understand it. The music in the world that is great is also the music in which the artist is most honest with her/himself. Honesty often means getting close to the dark places inside you.

Ryley Walker’s music has always embodied a certain conflict. When Walker takes a fairly straightforward folk-rock album track and turns it into a live 15-minute jazz-psych freakout, I don’t think the change is just about the “freedom” of the live setting or a fundamental dislike of the album track. Maybe that’s part of it, but I see a contest of impulses — to be a commercially approachable troubadour or the more esoteric, improvisational player he’s been since his career began. Do you want to be the guy who wears British tailoring in leafy photo shoots, or do you want to be the guy who uses his trio show with Ryan Jewell and Steve Gunn to play 50 minutes of psych jams? Walker is both of those things — he’s good at being both of those things — but one gets the sense that he isn’t totally comfortable living solely as either. I get it: A lot of us want to be more than our headline.

There’s a well-known paradox of the “sad clown” — that people who are funny are often people who aren’t happy. Anyone who has caught Ryley live or read him in Vice or reads his Twitter knows that he is certainly the former: he can be very, very funny. Listen to his lyrics as sung, and you might be surprised: Most of Walker’s songs are varying degrees of melancholic. Even a whimsical-sounding tune like “Summer Dress,” if you listen to his delivery, is more anxious than it seems: for a person with a belly full of wine singing about green pastures of desire, the narrator sounds ill at ease. The song is especially vivid for me because it’s the first one I ever heard Ryley Walker play. That very first song lacerated me; I believed the voice I heard.

Generosity. It’s sharing those darkest places in yourself, but it’s also playing a huge fan’s birthday party at Trans-Pecos in the middle of the day, even though you’ve got another show in town that Tuesday (which ends up being a jaw-dropping improv set with Jewell, David Grubbs, and C. Spencer Yeh—check back here soon). This set (a duo of Walker and Jewell) encapsulated all of the different sides of Ryley Walker at once — from his best-known song (and total live jammer) “The Roundabout” to the not-often-played-anymore “Summer Dress,” to the ending jam, which hews closer to his most recent Union Pool shows — and also kills.

That Walker puts his conflicts out there for everyone to see is not a flaw, nor is one choice he makes more true or “real” than another. They’re who and what he is — honest to the point of ache, always pushing to be something more. The late 2010s don’t feel like a moment for generous spirits, but you don’t choose when you’re born, anymore than you choose to whom, or where. Yet here he is: a generous spirit, one for whom, on this particular day, I was especially grateful.

Download the complete set from its page on the Live Music Archive.

Ryley Walker & Ryan Jewell
2019-03-24
Trans-Pecos
Queens, NY  USA

Recorded and produced by acidjack

Soundboard + Schoeps MK5c (onstage, XY)>KC5>CMC6>>Sound Devices MixPre6>24/48 polyWAV>Adobe Audition CC>Izotope Ozone 5>Audacity 2.3.0>FLAC ( level 8 )

Tracks
01 The Roundabout
02 [banter]
03 Summer Dress
04 [American Primitive rap]
05 Primrose Green
06 [HBD]
07 Pecos psych jam

PLEASE SUPPORT RYLEY WALKER: Bandcamp | Dead Oceans

Ryley Walker: March 12, 2019 Union Pool

March 14, 2019
By
Photo by Drew Gardner

Listen to this recording for the in-between song comedy, if nothing else.

Huh? Oh, right, but this is Ryley Walker we’re talking about — the Very Serious Musician who writes Very Serious Songs and does Very Serious Things like 55 minute psych-improv blowouts with Steve Gunn and Ryan Jewell. This is Ryley Walker, who does a 2LP song-by-song cover of an unreleased Dave Matthews album as his second record of the year — a cover album so good that it convinces music snobs that yes, Dave Matthews is actually a pretty darn great musician. Come for comedy if you must, but become lifelong believer because of the music.

This was Ryley’s second of four residency shows this month at Union Pool. In addition to a truly hilarious extended riff about garage bands at SXSW circa 2009 (with a note-accurate parody song included) and Chicago bands who fail to get picked up by Touch N Go (with a note-accurate parody song based around the riff from June of 44’s “Dexterity of Luck”), Ryley and drummer Jewell delivered a new jam (title TBD), a very familiar cover (“If I Were A Carpenter”), songs from the exceptional 2018 LP Deafman Glance, and “Primrose Green,” from the 2015 album of the same name that seems like aeons ago musically. Whether or not certain naysayers at the time made lame Van Morrison comparisons (based as much on the album’s cover art as its sound), many of those songs are really good, and it’s a joy to see them coming back in the rotation.

As I’ve mentioned before, what feels like the biggest difference from the 2015-era shows is how Walker’s live renditions more closely match the album’s style. Sure, it’s still “sad acoustic guitar indie folk man” music in a sense (as Walker put it), but “Telluride Speed” and “Spoil With the Rest” were played here more or less in the style of the album versions, versus the 14-minute jam version of “Halfwit In Me” that’s long been a tour staple. I don’t know if it means that Walker feels more comfortable with the Deafman songs as the band played them in the studio, or if these songs are just waiting their turn for the extended treatment, but either way, it’s working.

This show also features a hilarious story about taking acid in relation to a King Crimson concert (listen to the story) and some self-deprecating musings about Primrose Green. This might be the first show I’ve witnessed by a serious musician that almost seemed to spawn a new genre: sort of a Yo La Tengo Hanukkah set with a comedian, except that the comedian appears during the set.

There are two more Tuesday nights this month where you can catch Ryley Walker at Union Pool, with more special guests promised. Based on the first two, it’s pretty clear that you shouldn’t come with any preconceived notion of what you’ll hear, but be prepared to enjoy yourself. Tickets for next week’s show are here.

Doug Graham once again outdid himself behind the board. Combined with my Schoeps MK5 mics, it’s yet another excellent recording for you to enjoy.

Download the recording from its Live Music Archive page

Ryley Walker
2019-03-12
Union Pool (Residency Night 2)
Brooklyn, NY USA

Recorded and produced by acidjack

Soundboard (Engineer: Doug Graham) + Schoeps MK5c (XY, at SBD, DFC)>KC5>CMC6>>Sound Devices MixPre 6>24/48 polyWAV>Adobe Audition CC>Izotope Ozone 5>Audacity 2.2.2>FLAC ( level 8 )

Tracks [Total Time 1:04:03]
01 [intro]
02 The Halfwit In Me
03 [diaper rap]
04 [new jam 1]
05 Spoil With the Rest
06 [garage rock and Thrill Jockey rap]
07 Telluride Speed
08 [King Crimson rap]
09 If I Were A Carpenter [Tim Hardin]
10 [primrose rap]
11 Primrose Green

PLEASE SUPPORT RYLEY WALKER: Bandcamp | Dead Oceans

Oneida: February 22, 2019 The Glove

March 11, 2019
By

NY underground music heroes (hyperbole, that? nah….) Oneida are always an event in and of themselves, even when they’re the opening band. On this night they were out to celebrate the record release of Sunwatchers, and celebrate they did, with a full-length set that included a fun Flipper cover (“The Way of the World”) while focusing on their 2018 record Romance, unquestionably one of the best releases of last year. The set was bookended with classics, including “Snow Machine” from 2001 and “All Arounder” from 2001’s Anthem of the Moon. Combine that with the DIY ambiance of the Glove and the sick Macrodose light show, and you’ve got yourself a recipe for a Friday night, friend.

I recorded this set with Schoeps MK4V microphones halfway to the front of the room. The sound quality is excellent. Enjoy!

Download the complete show: [MP3/FLAC/ALAC]

Oneida
2019-02-22
The Glove
Brooklyn, NY USA

Recorded and produced by acidjack
Tracking by Eric PH

Schoeps MK4V (FOB, ROC, PAS)>KCY>Z-PFA>Sound Devices MixPre 6>24/48 WAV>Adobe Audition CC>Izotope Ozone 5>Audacity 2.2.2>FLAC ( level 8 )

Tracks [55:54]

  1. Snow Machine
  2. Reputation
  3. All in Due Time
  4. Cedars
  5. Cockfight
  6. Bad Habit
  7. Each One Teach One
  8. The Way of the World [Flipper]
  9. Economy Travel
  10. All Arounder

SUPPORT Oneida: Buy Romance via Joyful Noise

Ryley Walker, Steve Gunn & Ryan Jewell Trio: March 5, 2019 Union Pool

March 7, 2019
By
Photo by Drew Gardner

Ryley Walker led off his March 2019 Union Pool residency with a shot of his usual self-deprecating humor, telling us he just got dumped and that this was his first show as a New Yorker (he’s lived here for months and performed quite a few sets here since). For those of us who’ve followed his career for the past five-plus years, we knew at least one thing to expect next: Ryley’s music is as serious as his stage persona is flippant.

Still, that couldn’t quite prepare us for the trio set with Steve Gunn and Ryan Jewell that followed. This trio could have done any number of things well, but what we ended up with reminded me tonally of Gunn’s collaborations with the drummer John Truscinski — with a hundred percent more guitar. Over the course of this 50 minute improvisational piece (titled by yours truly given the lack of a given one), I was struck by how, in the right hands, an instrument can be a person’s voice. Take Walker at his word — or put yourselves in the shoes of almost anyone who first moves to NYC from their hometown — and you knew what kind of energy he was working with: frenetic, exuberant and relentless. He played like a person aching to be seen, announcing themselves in an unfamiliar place. It wasn’t his first show as a New Yorker, but it might be the first one with that alchemical mix of awe, anxiety and urgency that turns you into the kind of person who belongs here.

Gunn’s trademark guitar tone undergirds the entire piece, a beacon for what’s to come. There’s a sweetness and calm to even Gunn’s noisiest work that’s of a piece to his own stage persona: confident but laid-back about it, extraordinary without overreaching. Like his recent guest appearance with William Tyler, this collaboration with Walker made for an incredible combination of peer guitarists operating at their creative and artistic peaks (not to say they won’t enjoy more). Likewise the conservatory-trained Jewell, an almost-constant among Ryley’s touring bandmates, who comes in and out of the foreground of this extended improv at the right moments, adding drone-style percussion at critical ebbs in the volume.

From his noise roots to his folk-leaning earlier albums to his wholly-new current material, Walker proves over and over that he refuses not to stretch himself artistically. It was hard to take photos of this show. You could get a clear shot of Steve, eyeing Ryley from stage left. But Ryley Walker, he was a blur, especially at this piece’s final, ecstatic climax. Like a true New Yorker, he never stops moving.

I recorded this set with a flawless feed from Union Pool’s engineer Doug Graham, together with Schoeps MK5 microphones at the soundboard. The quality is excellent. Enjoy!

Thanks as always to the artists and the Union Pool team for having us.

Download the complete show from its Live Music Archive page.

Ryley Walker, Steve Gunn & Ryan Jewell Trio
2019-03-05
Union Pool
Brooklyn, NY  USA

Recorded and produced by acidjack

Soundboard (engineer: Doug Graham) + Schoeps MK5 (XY, at SBD, DFC)>KC5>CMC6>>Sound Devices MixPre 6>24/48 polyWAV>Adobe Audition CC>Izotope Ozone 5>Audacity 2.2.2>FLAC ( level 8 )

Tracks [Total Time 51:41]
01 [Chicago rap]
02 Exodus 2 Brooklyn pt 1
03 Exodus 2 Brooklyn pt 2
04 Exodus 2 Brooklyn pt 3

Ryley Walker – guitar
Steve Gunn – guitar
Ryan Jewell – drums

Sunwatchers: February 22, 2019 The Glove

March 1, 2019
By

Sunwatchers make no secret of their politics — heck, they’re written right on the cover of their previous album, II. They’re far from the only “rock” band (if you can even call them that) to use a saxophone, of course, but in Jeff Tobias’ hands, the instrument itself becomes political, recalling elements of spiritual and free jazz. Peter Kerlin, Jason Robira and Jim McHugh make a hell of an avant-rock trio, but it’s the defiant tone of that sax, the holy cry, that seals the band’s sound.

This show, held at the DIY outpost The Glove (so DIY that they don’t publish its address) on the Bushwick/Bed-Stuy border, celebrated the band’s second Trouble In Mind release, Illegal Moves. The ecstatic light show from Macrodose lined up the set and setting nicely for what was to come, including an Alice Coltrane cover (“Ptah, the El Daod”) and several songs we’d heard previewed back in December at Baby’s All Right. There was at least one song (“Sunwatchers vs. Tooth Decay”) that even post-dates the latest record (I think), so that gives us even more to anticipate in the future. Sunwatchers have built their fan base slowly and steadily (and deservedly). Looking at this crowd, it seemed clear that the secret is out.

I recorded this set with Schoeps MK4V mics at a nice up front (and relatively out of the way) position in the room. The sound quality is excellent. Enjoy!

Download the show from its page on the Live Music Archive

Sunwatchers
2019-02-22
The Glove
Brooklyn, NY  USA

Recorded and produced by acidjack

Schoeps MK4V (FOB, ROC, PAS)>KCY>Z-PFA>Sound Devices MixPre 6>24/48 WAV>Adobe Audition CC>Izotope Ozone 5>Audacity 2.2.2>FLAC ( level 8 )

Tracks [Total Time: 1:06:26]
01 New Dad Blues
02 Beautiful Chrystals
03 Sunwatchers vs. Tooth Decay
04 [banter]
05 Everybody Play!
06 Green Eyed Pigmen(Get the Blade)
07 [banter2]
08 Ptah, the El Daod [Alice Coltrane]
09 [banter3]
10 Love Paste/Brown Ice
11 [banter4]
12 Psychic Driving
13 Strollin Coma Blues
14 [encore break]
15 The Worm Store

If you dig this recording, here’s how to support Sunwatchers: Buy their records on bandcamp| Buy their records from Trouble In Mind

Big Ups: January 18, 2019 The Bowery Ballroom (Final Show!)

January 30, 2019
By
Photo courtesy of Edwina Hay

Big Ups began its life as a band in 2010 and ended on this very night in 2019. In a scene with hundreds of bands, many vying for attention in the same overall lane, Big Ups always stood out. I first saw them hot off the release of their first LP, Eighteen Hours of Static, at the now-defunct DIY venue Shea Stadium, and the experience stuck with me long after the feedback, and even the venue, faded. A DIY scene is ephemeral by definition–dozens of venues opened and closed during this band’s run, not to mention the number of bands who did the same. Big Ups persisted through it all, and they deserved to. Up through this very last night, at the very un-DIY Bowery Ballroom in Manhattan, they made better music, played better shows, and earned better fans.

No matter what type of Big Ups fan you were, this show offered something. The setlist served as a ready-made career retrospective, spanning the band’s earliest EPs through their final, and most intricate, release, Two Parts Together. If you’d never seen Joe Galarraga, Brendan Finn, Amar Lal, and Carlos Salguero Jr. play together before, well, now you got it (if too late). For the rest of us, we were reminded why this band was a can’t-miss on any night of the week. Their particular flavor of “post-hardcore” music, steeped in the soft/loud dynamic, relied on precision as well as Galarraga’s hyperkinetic stage presence. No matter how many times you’d seen and heard them perform something, it landed hard, straight in the gut. The words were direct, the music was explosive, and the crowd was always, always with them. Tonight, it was no different, with a teeming pit that gave the Bowery Ballroom floor more resemblance to a place like Shea Stadium that it seems possible to have.

A band’s last show has a nasty habit of inviting too much nostalgia, both about them, and about the scene from whence they came. It’s without dispute that the scene “isn’t what it used to be” — because it isn’t supposed to be. A music community is an organism that thrives on change, and this is one of them. Bands like Big Ups, and the places they play, set the tone, and then, eventually, the hand off the torch. Keeping that sentiment as literal as possible, the band ended their set with “Not Over Yet” (ironically, from one of their early EPs). “Even if I never sing this song again / you know I won’t forget” Galarraga sings — and I believe it.

I recorded this set with a feed of RJ Gordon’s house mix, together with Schoeps MK4V microphones mounted at the soundboard. The sound quality is outstanding. Thanks to RJ for the feed, and best of luck to everyone in Big Ups on the next chapter.

Download the complete show: [MP3/FLAC/Apple Lossless]

Big Ups
2019-01-18 [Final Show]
The Bowery Ballroom
New York, NY USA

Recorded and produced by acidjack

Soundboard (engineer: RJ Gordon) + Schoeps MK4V (at SBD, slightly LOC, PAS)>KCY>Z-PFA>>Sound Devices MixPre 6>24/48 polyWAV>Adobe Audition CC>Izotope Ozone 5>Audacity 2.3>FLAC ( level 8 )

Tracks [Total Time 1:05:38]
01 Body Parts
02 Justice
03 Not Today
04 In the Shade
05 Hard To Care
06 Meet Where We Are
07 Grin
08 Knight
09 Goes Black
10 Hope For Someone
11 National Parks
12 Dogs
13 T.M.I.
14 [banter]
15 Wool
16 [encore break]
17 Fear
18 Stressed/Pressed
19 No Plan
20 Not Over Yet

If you enjoyed this recording, PLEASE SUPPORT Big Ups, visit their websitelike them on Facebook and buy their records from Exploding In Sound. Also, support your local music scene!

Dirty Projectors: November 18, 2018 Elsewhere (Early Show)

November 20, 2018
By

If you ever doubt the reason to see live music, I’d refer you to the experience of watching Dave Longstreth on stage for eighty minutes with Dirty Projectors. There’s a particular joy to watching such complex, intellectual “rock” music brought to life by players of such immense talent, up close enough to see Longstreth’s fingers work the fretboard. If it’s at Elsewhere — a phenomenal-sounding club — and on a rather convenient late Sunday afternoon, all the better.

Among the waves of NYC/Brooklyn rock music in the first decade of this century, the Dirty Projectors always existed at some remove from even their mid-latter-decade contemporaries. Dirty Projectors is an unapologetically smart band, the work of a highly educated musician’s musician. It’s fitting that I last saw this band at Carnegie Hall in early 2013; if any “indie rock” band belongs there, it’s this one.

This set, the first of two the band performed at Elsewhere on Sunday, spanned the band’s five most recent albums (with Rise Above represented by the particularly affecting “Police Story” that led off the show), as well as two nuggets from the band’s Mount Wittenberg Orca collaboration with Björk. Likewise, this set represented a reasonable facsimile of Longstreth’s emotional states during the recent past, with songs like the joyous “I Found It In U” and “I Feel Energy” offset by the political rumination “It’s A Lifestyle” and the wistful “Little Bubble.” Longstreth has described Lamp Lit Prose and Dirty Projectors as a yin and yang album cycle, and that was evident here. But, while Lamp Lit is stylistically closer to the rest of the band’s recent material, there’s been a darkness in many of Longstreth’s songs before Dirty Projectors, and those, like “Gun Has No Trigger,” were well-represented here also.

To call the current band “new” is a bit of a stretch at this point; they’ve been touring this album as a unit for a while now, and it showed in their formidably well-rehearsed state. Give a quick listen to the soaring harmonies on “Cannibal Resource”, Kristin Slipp’s lead vocal on “The Socialites” or the incredible vocal precision on “When the World Comes To An End” (incidentally, the Mount Wittenberg songs strike me as particularly difficult musically) and you’ll be relieved of any concern that this band isn’t every bit the equal of the one that came before it. It wasn’t just because of Longstreth’s talent that I spent a good bit of these 80 minutes on a Sunday afternoon mouthing the word “wow.” It was hard to tell how serious Longstreth was about engaging a call-and-response situation during the final encore (“Right Now” from Lamp Lit Prose) but it soon became clear that even figuring out how to chant “right now” back at a Dirty Projectors song is a little tougher than usual singalong fare (“it loops unevenly…. that’s as well as I’ve figured out how to do it” a sheepish Longstreth said). “Right Now” proved a fitting end, encapsulating the yin and yang of the show in a single, dark but ultimately uplifting song (which Longstreth also identified as the most difficult to play in the set). The only part that wasn’t perfectly dialed in was the crowd singing “right now” — but that was kind of perfect, too.

I recorded this set with a feed of the house mix together with Schoeps MK4V microphones inside the soundboard cage. All credit for the sound of this belongs to the production team, both Dirty Projectors’ touring engineer, Teresa Murray, and the house team at Elsewhere. I hope you’re as impressed with it as I am — enjoy!

Thanks to Domino Records and Dirty Projectors for giving us permission to record the performance, along with the outstanding Elsewhere production crew.

Download the complete show: [MP3/FLAC/Apple Lossless]

Dirty Projectors
2018-11-18 (early show)
Elsewhere
Brooklyn, NY USA

Recorded and produced by acidjack for nyctaper.com

Soundboard (engineer: Teresa Murray + Tyler (house)) + Schoeps MK4V (FOB, DFC)>KC5>CMC6>>Sound Devices
MixPre6>24/48 polyWAV>Adobe Audition CC (align, mix down, fades, compression)>Izotope Ozone 5 (effects)>Audacity 2.1.0 (track, amplify,
balance)>FLAC ( level 8 )

Tracks [Total Time: 1:20:15]
01 Police Story
02 I Found It In U
03 Break-Thru
04 What Is the Time
05 Cannibal Resource
06 Temecula Sunrise
07 That’s a Lifestyle
08 The Socialites
09 Gun Has No Trigger
10 When the World Comes to an End
11 I Feel Energy
12 Cool Your Heart
13 Useful Chamber
14 [encore break]
15 Beautiful Mother
16 Little Bubble
17 [explanatory banter]
18 Right Now

Band:
Dave Longstreth
Matt Baldwin – bass, bass synth
Mike Johnson – drums
Felicia Douglass – vocals, keyboard, electronic percussion
Kristin Slipp – vocals, Wurlitzer, additional keys
Maia Friedman – guitar, vocals

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