Ryley Walker: November 3, 2016 Villain

November 16, 2016
By

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[Photo by Sierra Starno on Instagram]

The second time I saw Ryley Walker happened to be not long after I had received some bad news. I had immersed myself in his music since encountering him at Hopscotch Music Festival in Raleigh some months before. This time, I knew what to expect from him, but on a personal level, I felt unmoored in a way that I hadn’t in years. What struck me as he poured himself into “Summer Dress” that afternoon at Rough Trade in 2014 was not that the actual words he was saying necessarily spoke to my condition, but the way they sounded. Part of the beauty of Walker’s work is that his often-obtuse lyrics can be a blank canvas, albeit one surrounded by a complex web of sound. I couldn’t speculate what Ryley had experienced in order to pen these songs, but whatever it was, somehow, hearing him experience it made me feel better.

This show, at the multipurpose Williamburg venue Villain (relocated from the temporarily re-shuttered Market Hotel), took place less than week before what would become the most catastrophic political event in my lifetime, so I can’t say that it gave me the same level of comfort at the time. Listening back to this performance now, though, I think this music once again serves the same purpose. Even in the darkest of times, there are voices that speak to us, that lift us up, that remind us why it’s worth it to go on.

This set came at the rollicking end of the band’s U.S. tour. And I do mean band. As has been the case with recent shows I’ve seen, Ryley arrived with not only the stalwarts Ryan Jewell on drums and Anton Hatwich on bass, but he also had sometime musical partner Bill MacKay there to do double duty with him on guitar. It befitted not only this larger room (you can hear its size in the recording) but the direction Ryley has preferred of late, with his album songwriting serving as more of a jumping off point to dense psychedelic folk jams, Grateful Dead-style, than as pieces to stand by themselves. To wit, this show of just four songs was the longest I’ve seen by Walker yet–over 80 minutes long.

One of Walker’s more interesting paradoxes is how different his between-song persona is from the music he plays. To the same degree that his songs drift toward melancholy and darkness, the guy that shows up in between traffics in an exuberant, could-give-a-fuck abandon, cracking jokes about showing up at the wrong kind of “improv” party, talking about his band of accomplished jazz players as if they’re no different than the twenty-year-old punk knuckleheads down the block. Maybe that’s right–maybe they’re not. Music itself may often be serious, but it doesn’t have to be somber, at least in a room of friends.

My favorite of this night’s numbers was a song from Ryley’s latest, Golden Sings That Have Been Sung, that I hadn’t seen live yet. This twenty-three minute version of “Age Old Tale” began with a sustained ambient noise jam that paid homage to this neighborhood’s roots (“this is where you’d have gone to see a noise band fifteen years ago” Ryley said of the room, or something approximate). If you’d walked in during this song, you might have had no idea that the best comparison that certain corporate publications can come up with for Ryley is Van Morrison. It might be true of his albums, to a point, but what you experience in the room is something else entirely, and a sustaining reason why I personally never miss his shows. We need music right now. We especially need music like this.

I recorded this set with a soundboard feed from the FOH Ryan together with Schoeps MK4V microphones back by the soundboard. If I do say so myself, it’s pretty fucking cool that I got a shoutout from stage during the process of recording this. This isn’t one of the easier rooms, sound-wise, but based on the music alone, this recording should be a must-add to your collection.

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

Stream the complete show:

Ryley Walker
2016-11-03
Villain
Brooklyn, NY USA

Exclusive download hosted at nyctaper.com
Recorded and produced by acidjack

Soundboard (engineer: Ryan) + Schoeps MK4V (DFC, at SBD)>KCY>Z-PFA>Zoom F8>2x24bit/48kHz WAV>Adobe Audition CC (compression, fades)>Izotope Ozone 5 (EQ, effects, image)>Audacity 2.0.3 (track, amplify, downsample, dither)>FLAC ( level 8 )

Tracks
01 [intro banter]
02 The Roundabout
03 [banter2]
04 Sullen Mind
05 [banter3]
06 Age Old Tale
07 [banter4]
08 Funny Thing She Said

Band
Ryley Walker
Bill MacKay – Guitar
Anton Hatwich – Bass
Ryan Jewell – Drums

PLEASE SUPPORT Ryley Walker: Website | Twitter | “Ryley Walker Bootlegs” (his word, not ours)

Lambchop: September 8, 2016 Hopscotch Music Festival (Raleigh, NC)

November 14, 2016
By

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By now, Lambchop fans have had a chance to hear the band’s daring new record, FLOTUS, a critically-acclaimed shot across the bow to anyone who would dare claim a classic artist can’t reinvent themselves. But back in September, at the Hopscotch Music Festival, fans were probably more ready for a show like the one we witnessed there in 2012, or any number of the band’s lauded full-band shows whose cast can stretch to over a dozen people.  So when Kurt Wagner sang the first Vocoder-enhanced lines of “NIV” — a song nobody there had heard before — a fan might have been forgiven for being freaked out. When the entire show, including pre-FLOTUS material, continued in that vein, you have to imagine more than a few WTFs were exchanged. But that would have been a serious mistake, as not only are these new songs compelling in their own right, but the very fact of their existence says something special, too. Artists in the third decade of their career don’t often make these kinds of stylistic moves, and when they do, they often ring hollow. Wagner had already experimented with an electronic sound with his side project HeCTA in 2015, but for that to migrate to his main act represents an additional leap.

Wagner, on the other hand, has made a stripped-down, gorgeous album whose songwriting, pacing and structure (bookended by two epic-length tracks) are as equally of note as the dedication to the vocoder. The new sound echoes something essential about our era, taking a style once so resolutely organic and making it largely electronic. You feel both excited by the new possibility, yet threatened by the loss of something more natural, more human.

Here, in Raleigh’s comfortable Fletcher Opera Theater, those electronic tones were warmed up by not only the band’s physical presence, but Wagner and his bandmates’ banter, which alone was worth the price of admission. If he gets tired of music, pianist Tony Krell might well have a career in front of him as a comic sideman, as he traded jokes with Wagner throughout the night. Though this was the first time that many of these songs saw the light of day, it turns out that these versions are faithful to the album versions. Equally interesting were the FLOTUS-fied versions of earlier material like the standout Mr. M track “If Not I’ll Just Die” and several of its fellow Mr. M tracks. Stripped of that album’s lush arrangements, we’re left with arctic tone of Wagner’s altered words. The effect was unsettling but lovely, adding focus to Wagner’s words.

If you haven’t heard FLOTUS yet, I’d encourage you to give it a shot. Whether you knew Lambchop before or not, the album, and the quality of its songs, stands on its own as an of-the-moment document by an artist who has followed his own muse for decades. Also, I’d like to thank our friends at Merge Records for letting us post this recording. As eager as we were to share it with the world, both Merge and we thought the best thing was to hold back this live show of a large chunk of the new album until fans have gotten to hear it for themselves. Now, you can compare the two side by side.

I recorded this set with a soundboard feed and Schoeps MK4V microphones. The sound quality is outstanding. Enjoy!

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

Stream the complete show:

Lambchop
2016-09-08
Hopscotch Music Festival
Fletcher Opera Theater
Raleigh, NC USA

Exclusive download hosted at nyctaper.com
Recorded and produced by acidjack

Soundboard + Schoeps MK4V (ROC, at SBD)>KC5>CMC6>Zoom F8>2x24bit/48kHz WAV>Adobe Audition CS 5.5 (compression, fades)>Izotope Ozone 5 (EQ, effects)>Audacity 2.0.3 (track, amplify, downsample, dither)>FLAC ( level 8 )

Tracks
01 NIV
02 The Hustle
03 [banter]
04 Poor Bastard
05 Old Masters
06 If Not I’ll Just Die
07 [banter2]
08 Gone Tomorrow
09 In Care of 8675309
10 [banter3]
11 Nice Without Mercy
12 [banter4]
13 Directions To the Can
14 [encore break]
15 When You Were Mine

PLEASE SUPPORT Lambchop: Website | Merge Records

AJJ: November 6, 2016 Warsaw BK

November 13, 2016
By

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[photos by Erica Lauren]

“You’re an irreplaceable human soul with your own understanding of what it means to suffer” sings Sean Bonnette in AJJ’s “People II 2: Still Peoplin'”. The band formerly known as Andrew Jackson Jihad has spent its decade-long career writing songs about the myriad of issues involving depression, anxiety and bi-polar disorders. This year AJJ released its sixth full-length album The Bible 2 and the record offers a breakthrough of sorts — not in a traditional music industry sense — but rather a true explication of a path beyond a life dictated by the limitations of mental illness. The linked tracks “No More Shame, No More Fear, No More Dread” and “Small Red Boy” plot a path to wellness through self-determination. While the message may not work for everyone, the concept that we are in control of our own destinies — even if only a little bit — is inspiring and hopeful. AJJ has often used dark humor to offset the troubles of the characters in their songs, but the protagonist in songs like “People II: The Reckoning” lives in a spiral of “manic depression” that “comes and goes”. The Bible 2 offers a character who swears off doubt, resentment, fear, and fixations, and ultimately controls the inner devil “Red Boy” through power, truth and nurture.

AJJ are currently on tour in support of the new album and arrived in Brooklyn last Sunday for a show at Warsaw. This is the band’s third performance at this venue, after the date last year that we recorded at Knitting Factory. From the outset, the energy was palpable — this is a band with a tremendous relationship with its fans. There was two times during the night when AJJ had to ask the crowd to move back to prevent crushing the people up front. The set was culled from a strong representation of the band’s best material and included most of The Bible 2. In the end, it was clear that this is a band at the top if its game and offering a message that is both welcome and necessary for all of its fans.

I recorded this set by using the hypercardioid Neumanns from the front of the soundboard in this large venue. The excellent board feed was provided by the band’s superb touring FOH Stripes and the mix resulted in a recording of which we are extremely pleased. Enjoy!

Download the Complete Show [MP3] / [FLAC]

Stream the Complete Show:

AJJ
2016-11-06
Warsaw
Brooklyn NY

Digital Master Recording
Soundboard + Audience Matrix

Soundboard [engineer Stripes] + Neumann KM-150s > Sound Devices 744t > 2 x 24bit 48kHz wavs > Soundforge (post-production) > CDWave 1.95 (tracking) > TLH > flac (320 MP3/tagging via Foobar)

Recorded and Produced by nyctaper

Setlist:
[Total Time 1:32:27]
01 [introduction]
02 The Michael Jordan of Drunk Driving
03 Gift of the Magi Two
04 Distance
05 Cody’s Theme
06 [banter – false start]
07 Fucc The Devil
08 Love in the Time of Human Papillomavirus
09 A Song Dedicated to the Memory of Stormy the Rabbit
10 Bad Bad Things
11 Coffin Dance
12 Do Re And Me
13 American Garbage
14 [banter – Erica]
15 Little Prince
16 People II – Still Peoplin
17 Rejoice
18 El Paso Border Patrol
19 My Brain Is A Human Body
20 No More Shame, No More Fear, No More Dread
21 Personal Space Invader
22 Love Will Fuck Us Apart
23 Back Pack
24 Terrifyer
25 [banter – Samsung]
26 Heartilation
27 Kokopelli Face Tattoo
28 Black Dog
29 Goodbye, Oh Goodbye
30 Small Red Boy
31 When I’m A Dead Boy
32 Big Bird
33 [encore break]
34 Brave as a Noun

SUPPORT AJJ: Website | Facebook | Purchase The Bible 2 from SideOneDummy Records [HERE].

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Wrekmeister Harmonies: November 4, 2016 Trans-Pecos

November 10, 2016
By

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[photo by Kathleen Fox]

There might not be a better time for us to post this show in light of Tuesday night’s horrific events. The new Wrekmeister Harmonies album Light Falls is a meditation on the struggle against all odds to overcome evil. Inspired by Primo Levi’s writings about his time at Auschwitz, Levi’s anti-fascist resistance fighter model of fortitude and resolve is perhaps an extremely apt guide for us all at present. For the album, Wrekmeister’s J.R. Robinson and Esther Shaw added some gravitas to the proceedings by inviting three members of Godspeed You! Black Emperor to perform on the record. The result is a profoundly moving musical piece that explores the emotional ebbs and flows while on the ledge of life and death surrounded by pure evil — 1944 becomes 2016.

Wrekmeister Harmonies came East last week for a special show at Trans-Pecos, hosted by AdHoc, before leaving for a lengthy tour of Europe in November and December. The live band did include along with J.R. and Esther, the drummer Tim Herzog from Godspeed, Dana Schechter (Insect Ark) on lap steel, and Martin Farmer on bass. The set was one full uninterrupted suite consisting of the entire Light Falls album with three non-album tracks interspersed within the suite. However the focus was not on individual pieces but the performance as a whole — a profound use of light and dark, peace and anger, and subtlety and cacophony to draw out emotions very rarely felt while viewing a musical performance. Wrekmeister Harmonies is a unit not to be missed, and while they are in Europe we recommend playing Light Falls and this performance loudly and often.

I recorded this set with the usual setup in this venue, Schoeps at stage lip mixed with a board feed. Chris did a superb job mixing the band and the room sound was outstanding. The result is we feel a superb recording that accurately captures this moving music. Enjoy!

Download the Complete Show [MP3] / [FLAC]

Stream the Complete Show:

Wrekmeister Harmonies
2016-11-04
Trans-Pecos
Queens NY

Digital Master Recording
Soundboard + On-Stage Audience Matrix

Soundboard [Engineer Chris Cherry] + Schoeps CCM4u’s > Sound Devices 744t > 2 x 24bit 48kHz wav files > Soundforge (post production) > CDWave 1.95 (tracking) > TLH > flac (320 MP3 and tagging via Foobar)

Recorded and Produced
by nyctaper

Setlist:
[Total Time 44:17]
01 A 300 Year Old Slit Throat
02 Light Falls I – The Mantra
03 Light Falls II – The Light Burns Us All
04 Light Falls III – Light Sick
05 Posting A Death Notice
06 The Gathering
07 Preparing To Be Lazarus In A Cooling Bed
08 Where Have You Been My Lovely Son – Some Were Saved Some Drowned – Lovely Son Reprise

Esther Shaw – violin, keyboards, vocals
Timothy Herzog – drums
Dana Schechter – lap steel
Martin Farmer – bass
J.R. Robinson – guitar, vocals

SUPPORT Wrekmeister Harmonies:  Facebook | Bandcamp | Purchase Light Falls from Thrill Jockey Records [HERE].

Animal Collective: November 2, 2016 Terminal 5

November 6, 2016
By

Animal Collective
[photos courtesy of Will and We All Want Someone blog]

If you read this site frequently enough to discern a variety of personas behind the reviews and recordings, you may have noted that I usually don’t go out for the big shows. A dislike of crowds combined with a simple preference for many smaller acts in intimate venues informs most of my concert-going. I skipped Animal Collective’s two-night stand at Irving Plaza this past February for these very reasons; however, upon hearing NYCTaper’s recording of night two I was filled instantly with pangs of regret for having missed some clearly excellent Animal Collective shows. So when the band announced their November tour stop at Terminal 5, I cast aside my usual reservations about the venue and bought a ticket—and my faith was rewarded thoroughly. Terminal 5 is a cavernous room and as NYCTaper notes the last time we saw Animal Collective there, it has the capacity to swallow up the sound. But not on this night: the sound in the venue was dialed in perfectly and the quality of this recording is a reflection of that. I couldn’t be happier with how this recording turned out and I’m sure you’ll agree.

On to the music: now two albums past their breakout, Merriweather Post Pavilion, Animal Collective have made it quite clear that they won’t be content to remake versions of their most popular record over and over again. Instead they’ll push forward as they’ve been doing since the early aughts, always something new. Every tour for Animal Collective is different, but the trend for the last few years since Centipede HZ is towards their jammy side with lengthy transitions between songs (here including a nod to the Dead’s “The Other One” and also a short burst of Panda Bear’s “Drone”). Animal Collective has become of those bands you need to revisit each tour to hear the new arrangements of songs you’ve heard live before plus out-of-the-blue setlist additions you never would have imagined (like “Bees” on the last tour or “Kids on Holiday” here). This nearly two-hour show captures nearly all of the band’s current setlist and is a pretty much perfect document of the current tour. Speaking of which: the tour is still going on and you’d be a fool to miss out. Do it.

I recorded this set with the AKGs clamped at the lip of the balcony, directly over the sound engineer’s head. The quality of this recording is simply stunning. Enjoy!

Download the complete show in a variety of formats at the Live Music Archive.

Stream:

Animal Collective

Animal Collective
2016-11-02
Terminal 5
New York, NY

Recorded and produced by Eric PH for NYCTaper.com
Photos by Will Oliver

AKG C480B/CK63 (DFC, at SBD, PAS) > Roland R-26 > WAV (24/48) > Adobe Audition CC (compression, normalize, fades) + Izotope Ozone 5 (EQ) > Audacity 2.0.5 (tracking, tagging) > FLAC (24/48, level 8)

Tracks [1:52:26]
01. Recycling
02. Lying in the Grass
03. Golden Gal
04. Summing the Wretch
05. Loch Raven
06. On Delay
07. Jimmy Mack [Martha Reeves and The Vandellas]
08. Water Curses
09. FloriDada
10. The Burglars
11. Kids on Holiday
12. [encore break]
13. Hocus Pocus
14. Guys Eyes
15. Summertime Clothes

SUPPORT ANIMAL COLLECTIVE: Website | Buy Painting With | Facebook

Guerilla Toss: July 30, 2016 Secret Project Robot

November 3, 2016
By

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We had seen Guerrilla Toss a few times before this year’s Out in the Streets Festival performance that we captured. To us, and to anyone who has watched their ascent, they are one of those rare live bands that you seek out, who combine musical originality and daring with a live performance that’s bound to engage even the more pop-leaning subjects whom it reaches. It’s not insignificant the this band is signed to DFA, not only because that avatar of the previous decade conjures the best about the north Brooklyn scene, but also because they tend to sign acts that get your body moving, with whatever technology necessary.

This Secret Project Robot show only extends the myth and the mystery of this band, being held in a creative space that, like most things north Brooklyn, was temporal but great. Add to that their specific choice of playing on the floor, rather than on stage, putting frontwoman Kassie Carlson, in particular, right in the audience’s face. If it wasn’t the technically strong show, in terms of sound system, it was absolutely one that showed what is best about this band’s interactive, high-energy live experience. This writhing, sweaty rager, featuring songs from the band’s DFA debut, Eraser Stargazer, showed that fun music can be cerebral, too.

I recorded this set with Schoeps MK4V microphones not far from the band. The sound quality is reflective of the setup and the way it was recorded, and fits the moment perfectly. Enjoy!

Download the complete show: [FLAC/MP3]

Stream the complete show:

Guerilla Toss
2016-07-30
Secret Project Robot
Brooklyn, NY USA

Exclusive download hosted at nyctaper.com
Recorded and produced by acidjack

Schoeps MK4V (FOB, DFC, PAS)>KCY>Z-PFA>Aeta PSP3>Roland R-26>24bit/48kHz WAV>Adobe Audition CS 5.5 (channel mixer, compression, fades)>Izotope Ozone 5 (EQ, effects)>Audacity 2.0.3 (track, amplify, downsample, dither)>FLAC ( level 8 )

Tracks
01 Betty Dreams of Green Men>
02 Trash Bed>
03 TV Spell>
04 TV Do Tell>
05 Ritual In Light>
06 Realistic Rabbit
07 Eraser Stargazer Forever>
08 The String Game>
09 Billy Blood Idol

PLEASE SUPPORT Guerilla Toss: Bandcamp | Facebook | DFA Records Page

Support nyctaper

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