Posts Tagged ‘ piano’s ’

The Kickback: June 10, 2014 Pianos – Flac/MP3/Streaming

June 27, 2014
By

TheKickbackPianos
[photo by Rev Moose]

For a band that has yet to release its first proper album, Chicago’s The Kickback certainly have received some high profile attention — from both Rolling Stone and Jim DeRogatis. Indeed, the debut album is currently being recorded with Jim Eno from Spoon. The New Music Seminar brought The Kickback to NYC a couple of weeks back for a showcase at Pianos. Its easy to see why the band is getting serious attention — they’re tight, the songwriting is excellent, the live energy is contagious, and bandleader Billy Yost has that x-factor the separates up-and-comers from never-will-be bands. The highlight of the set was the show’s finale, and absolutely stunning number called “Rob Our House” which we’re streaming below. The song draws upon the pure helpless rage of a crime victim filtered through Yost’s magnetic stage presence. The song left me speechless and definitely wanting to see more of the The Kickback when they return to NYC for CMJ in October.

I recorded this set with the Sennheiser cards mounted to the front plexiglass out of the soundboard booth and mixed with a feed. The sound quality is quite excellent. Enjoy!

Stream “Rob Our House”:

Download the Complete Show [MP3] / [FLAC]

Note: All of the material on this site is offered with artist permission, free to fans, at our expense. The only thing we ask is that you download the material directly from this site, rather than re-posting the direct links or the files on other sites without our permission. Please respect our request.

The Kickback
2014-06-10
Pianos
New York, NY USA

Digital Master Recording
Soundboard + Audience Matrix

Soundboard + Sennheiser MKH-8040s > Edirol R-44 (Oade Concert Mod) > Two 24bit 48kHz wav files > Soundforge (level adjustments, set fades, downsample) > CDWave 1.95 (tracking) > TLH > flac (320 MP3 and Tagging via Foobar)

Recorded and Produced
by nyctaper

Setlist:
[Total Time 35:12]
01 Fanger
02 When I Die
03 Headhunter
04 Please Hurt
05 White Lodge
06 Sting’s Teacher Years
07 [thanks]
08 Rob Our House

If you download this recording from NYCTaper, we expect that you will PLEASE SUPPORT The Kickback, visit their website, and purchase their official releases from the links at their website and the Bandcamp page [HERE].

The Rooks: January 23, 2014 Piano’s – FLAC/MP3/Streaming

January 27, 2014
By

rooks7-1
[Photo from the prior week’s show courtesy of Shayne Hanley of Shutterhound Photography]

I guess I shouldn’t say I was shocked at the size and age of the crowd that was out for The Rooks‘ third of four Piano’s Thursday night residencies. If you watch the Grammys or read most music blogs, you could be forgiven for expecting fans to only be interested in bands defined more by their haircuts or who their “producer” credits go to than the music they are making. The Rooks are a complete breath of fresh air in that respect. Their value proposition is simple: Well-executed, well-crafted classic R&B and soul delivered with maximum enthusiasm and minimum attitude. Think the Jackson 5, Stevie Wonder, The Spinners.

Recent grads of Wesleyan University (a school famous for birthing less-conventional bands like MGMT and Das Racist), this young sextet has honed their craft to a tee, playing music that honors its history and lives up to its standards. That their cover songs, like the Fugees version of “Killing Me Softly” or Destiny’s Child’s “Bills, Bills, Bills” stand up as well as they do next to the band’s originals like their single “Twister” or the uptempo “Fall For You” is a testament to just how good they are at what they do. But the best compliment to them of all comes from the crowd they bring out — they bring bodies in the door, and once they’re there, get them moving. I had no doubt that this residency will launch this band to bigger stages — and it already has. The last night of the residency this Thursday, January 30 at Pianos, is sold out, but the band will be at the Gramercy Theatre on February 27. Tickets here.

I recorded this set with a soundboard feed provided by house engineer Wilfred, combined with Schoeps MK4V microphones. I weighted the final mix more heavily toward the board than I would have liked, owing to the rowdiness of the crowd, who you can clearly hear having a good time on the tape. While you lose a little bit of “room” feel, the sound quality is nonetheless outstanding. Enjoy!

Stream “Fall For You”

Stream “Killing Me Softly” [The Fugees]

Download the complete show [MP3] | [FLAC]

Note: All of the material on this site is offered with artist permission, free to fans, at our expense. The only thing we ask is that you download the material directly from this site, rather than re-posting the direct links or the files on other sites without our permission. Please respect our request.

IMG_6583
[Photo of this show by acidjack]

The Rooks
2014-01-23
Piano’s
New York, NY USA

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

Soundboard (engineer: Wilfred) + Schoeps MK4V>KC5>CMC6>Sound Devices USBPre2>>Edirol R-44 [OCM]>2x24bit/48kHz WAV>Adobe Audition CS 5.5 (align, adjust levels, mix down)>Izotope Ozone 5 (EQ, effects, stereo imaging)>Audacity 2.0.3 (tracking, fades, amplify, balance, downsample, dither)>FLAC ( level 8 )

Tracks [Total Time 58:47]
01 Grounded
02 Fall For You
03 Twister
04 Talk To Me
05 Killing Me Softly [Fugees version]
06 You’re the One
07 Love You Down [Me’shell Ndegeocello version]
08 Doubt
09 Don’t Change My Mind
10 [banter]
11 Bills, Bills, Bills [Destiny’s Child]
12 Let Down
13 Lefty

If you enjoyed this recording, PLEASE SUPPORT The Rooks, like them on Facebook, and buy their music on their bandcamp page.

Snowmine: February 16, 2012 Pianos – FLAC and MP3 Downloads + Streaming Songs

February 29, 2012
By


[photo by acidjack]

For those who like melodic, somewhat anthemic, approachable rock music, it probably hasn’t been a great last few years for you.  Making fun of the banality of bands like Coldplay isn’t even fun anymore; sure you’ve got your Bon Iver types out there, but they won’t exactly whip crowds into a frenzy. Younger bands are doing a whole range of things, but it seems too often that gimmickry, rather than greatness, wins the day.  Surely there’s a place for good music in this style that doesn’t sound like it’s trying too hard, or bored with itself.

Enter Snowmine to cure what ails you.  With their style of music – lush soundscapes, soaring vocal runs, atmospheric samples – words like “beautiful” or “pleasant” don’t have negative or ironic connotations.  Frontman Grayson Sanders has a sweet voice with range to spare, and he puts it to good use on songs like “Rome”, which has a similarly uplifting vibe to some of the better stuff in the Yeasayer catalog. Sanders lends the band’s songs some lovely vocal runs, but without the bombast that afflicts some of his peers.  Snowmine are still a young band, and this show was part of that rite of passage any New York band is familiar with, the Pianos residency.  The band took over the incubator-style room with a level of effort that suggests they have a real shot, bringing to bear a full-on stage setup with video projections, and even playing an (gasp!) encore.  Their fully-realized sound seems more than up to the task of taking down venues ten or a hundred times this size.  My money’s on that they make it.

hi and lo and I recorded this set with Schoeps MK5 cardioid microphones and a stereo soundboard feed.  While Pianos crowds are notoriously chatty, the soundboard feed’s excellent balance allowed the mics to remain in the background, and as a result, we have an excellent recording.  Enjoy!

Thanks to Teen Wolf Management for inviting us to the show!

Stream “Rome”

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Stream “Let Me In”

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Direct download of complete show in MP3 files (HERE) |  Direct Download location of the FLAC files [HERE]

Note: All of the material on this site is offered with artist permission, free to fans, at our expense. The only thing we ask is that you download the material directly from this site, rather than re-posting the direct links or the files on other sites without our permission. Please respect our request.

Snowmine
2012-02-16
Pianos
New York, NY, USA

Exclusive download hosted at nyctaper.com
Recorded and produced by hi and lo

Source : Soundboard + Schoeps MK5c > Nbox Cables > Naiant PFA > EAA PSP-2 >> Tascam DR-680 @ 24 bit / 48 kHz
Edit : WaveLab V5.01b (fades/gain/eq/dither/resmpaling)
Encoding : FLAC v1.2.1 (Level 8) with TLH v2.6.0 (Build 168)

Tracklist (total time 43:38)
01 Plans
02 Rome
03 Curfews
04 [Banter]
05 Further Along, Further Away
06 Let Me In
07 Silver Sieve
08 Cutting Canyons
09 Beast in Air, Beast in Water
10 The Hill

If you enjoyed this recording, PLEASE SUPPORT Snowmine, like them on Facebook, and purchase their music on their bandcamp page on a “pay what you will” basis.

Jump Into The Gospel: February 18, 2012 Pianos – Flac and MP3 Downloads + Streaming Song

February 24, 2012
By

Jump Into The Gospel are poised to step up to the next level. When we saw them back in June their melodic pop showed significant potential, but the Jump Into The Gospel breakout gig took place a couple of weeks back when they impressed those who came to see them open for Cloud Nothings at The Studio at Webster Hall. Last week at Pianos, I saw them again and the development of the band was striking. Lead singer Louis Epstein has mastered his stage manner and the band, which includes members of Holy Ghost and The Drums, is tighter and more focused. The thirty minute set included several numbers from the upcoming Gospel EP, due in March. At times, the music resembles the frenetic pop of Of Montreal and at others there is a definite neo-80’s sound more fitting a Captured Tracks band. The question is which type of pop band that Jump Into The Gospel is destined to be. Either way, it won’t be long before Jump Into The Gospel has moved on from smaller venues into a larger spotlight.

I recorded this set with a board feed mixed with the Neumann microphones centered in front of the soundboard booth, and the sound quality is excellent. Enjoy!

Stream “Start A Following”:

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Direct download of complete show in MP3 files (HERE)

Download the Complete show in FLAC [HERE].

Note: All of the material on this site is offered with artist permission, free to fans, at our expense. The only thing we ask is that you download the material directly from this site, rather than re-posting the direct links or the files on other sites without our permission. Please respect our request.

Jump Into The Gospel
2012-02-18
Piano’s
New York, NY USA

Digital Master Recording
Soundboard + Audience Matrix

Soundboard + Neumann KM-150s > Edirol R-44 (Oade Concert Mod) > 24bit 48kHz wav file > Soundforge (level adjustments, set fades, downsample) > CDWave 1.95 (tracking) > TLH > flac (320 MP3 and Tagging via Foobar)

Recorded and Produced by nyctaper
2012-02-20

Setlist:
[Total Time 30:17]
01 [introduction]
02 Flagship
03 St John
04 Photovoltaic
05 Start a Following
06 Madness
07 Untitled
08 Humvee Mansion
09 2012

If you download this recording from NYCTaper, we expect that you will PLEASE SUPPORT Jump Into The Gospel, visit their facebook page, and purchase their debut EP from their Bandcamp page [HERE].

Low Roar: January 19, 2012 Pianos – FLAC and MP3 Downloads + Streaming Song

January 30, 2012
By


[Photos courtesy of Matthew Eisman.  See more of his excellent work HERE.]

I’ve always been a rock music guy.  And if it can rupture eardrums and upset my equilibrium just by listening to it, I’m usually in my happy place.  That’s why I was surprised to find Low Roar’s debut album with its haunting melodies so intriguing.  Having already drawn comparisons to the mellower offerings of Radiohead, Jeff Buckley and Sigur Rós in reviews, I also heard flashes of Brian Eno in that first listen.  The band’s backstory is no less interesting.  Formerly of Oakland’s Audrye Sessions, frontman and songwriter Ryan Karazija pulled up stakes in San Francisco and moved to Iceland where he began this project and recorded the tracks.  Much as I really liked it, I was left wondering how well this music would translate to a concert setting.  My concerns were unfounded as the songs, beautiful as they are on record, were stunningly gorgeous when played live.  Joined on stage by Júlíus Björgvinsson, Ryan’s magnificent hymn-like vocals and the duo’s brilliantly understated musicianship fleshed even more nuance out of the studio material and expanded on it.  Suffice to say, I’m looking forward to the next chance I get to see Low Roar.  If their music is to your tastes and you have an opportunity to catch them, I suggest you run, don’t walk, to go see them, too.

Recording in small clubs always has its challenges and this night at Pianos was no exception: chatty patrons, an adjoining bar with its accompanying noise, and a feedback spike early in the set.  All that aside, venue engineer, Ofer, did a superb job in both his house mix and the soundboard feed he provided for us to blend with our microphones.  The resultant capture is excellent and we hope you like what you hear as much as we did.  Enjoy!

Special thanks to Low Roar and Bryan Vaughan at Indigenous Promotions for making this recording possible, and to the staff at Pianos for their courtesy and cooperation.

Stream “Just A Habit”:

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Direct download of the complete show in MP3 [HERE]

Download the Complete show in FLAC [HERE].

Note: All of the material on this site is offered with artist permission, free to fans, at our expense.  The only thing we ask is that you download the material directly from this site, rather than re-posting the direct links or the files on other sites without our permission.  Please respect our request.

Low Roar
Thursday, January 19, 2012
Pianos
New York, NY, USA

Source: SBD + AKG C 414 B-XLS’s > Edirol R-44 (WAV @ 24-bit/48kHz)
Lineage: R-44 > USB > PC > Adobe Audition (mixdown, adjust levels, downsample, dither, tracking) > WAV (16-bit/44.1kHz) > Trader’s Little Helper (check/fix SBE’s, FLAC) > FLAC Level 8
Pianos house engineer: Ofer Tiberin
Recorded and produced by: Johnny Fried Chicken Boy

SETLIST:
[Total time: 38:51]
01. Intro > Friends Make Garbage (Good Friends Take It Out) > Low Roar
02. Just A Habit
03. Give Up
04. Rolling Over
05. Help Me > Dalalæða

If you download this recording, we expect that you will PLEASE SUPPORT Low Roar and their related projects, visit their Facebook page, and purchase their official releases at the Tonequake Records shop [HERE], at iTunes or at Amazon.  And definitely go see their shows.

Our Top 25 Concert Moments of 2010 (with MP3 Download and Streaming Songs)

December 31, 2010
By

We were treated to a lot of amazing music this year, and the site has continued to grow. This year, we reached our 600th recording posted since 2007 – a pretty incredible number considering that this is only the fourth year of the site.  As a final New Year’s treat to our readers, we thought we would share a “mixtape” with you of some of our favorite concert moments of 2010.

Out of the two hundred-plus shows that we saw, we selected 25 moments that we thought were particularly memorable (among the shows we recorded, at least). There is a wide range of music, styles and artists represented: folk, rock, Scandinavian pop, punk and much more. There are new bands who are just breaking into the mainstream, as well as mainstream acts continuing to perform at a high level. The only consistent theme is that these artists all touched us in some way, giving performances that stayed with us long after the last notes were played.

The following list is in no particular order. Links to download the entire compilation, as well as selected numbers streaming, are below.

Want to keep up with the latest concert updates and recordings on the site? Follow @nyctaper and @acidjacknyc on Twitter.

Download the entire mixtape [HERE]

1. Built to Spill – “Carry The Zero” – September 20, 2010 Rocks Off Concert Cruise. This show was nuts – on a boat, with a tiny main floor, with a crowd that was loud, drunken and rowdy, and a veteran band doing what they do best. We saw Built to Spill a ton of times over the past two years, but this show was the clear standout.

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2. Oh Land – “Lean On Me” – November 8, 2010 Brooklyn Bowl. We first saw this young Danish artist play Brooklyn Bowl back in July. Although she was still getting comfortable with her new material, her talent and unique stage presence were already on display. After seeing her again at the Backyard Brunch Sessions, we caught her again a month later at Brooklyn Bowl. Her evolution blew us away – displaying newfound poise and confidence, designer clothing and a new percussionist, Nanna dominated the stage. Though many of her songs lend themselves to dancing, I have always been partial to this more precious number. She may now be the face of Missoni, but Oh Land is far, far more than a pretty face.

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3. John Vanderslice – “The Parade” – October 21, 2010 Mercury Lounge. On the night after our Unofficial CMJ Day Party at Cake Shop, we caught one of our favorite acts, the inimitable songwriter John Vanderslice at Mercury Lounge. John has always been a supporter and friend of the site, but we were especially gratified by his heartfelt intro to this song when he thanked nyctaper from the stage.

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4. The Dirty Projectors – “As I Went Out One Morning [Bob Dylan]” – September 11, 2010 Terminal 5. After this band blew us away at the tail end of 2009, we were thrilled that Johnny Fried Chicken Boy was able to catch their show at the massive Terminal 5. This Dylan cover was among many special songs played during another show that wowed us with its musical skill.

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5. Pavement – “Fight this Generation” – September 19, 2010 Williamsburg Waterfront. Pavement‘s return was probably my personal musical highlight of the year – nobody ever thought it would happen, and when it did, they were exactly as nonchalant about the whole thing as you would expect. Everything went right at their first NYC show in ten years, and the irony of Pavement – an iconic band for Generation X – playing “Fight This Generation” on the Williamsburg waterfront to an entirely new generation of fans was perfect. This loose, jammy rendition killed, too.

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6. Superchunk – “Digging For Something” – September 19, 2010 Music Hall of Williamsburg. While I was checking out Pavement, nyctaper was down the street taking in an equally amazing performance from another 90s indie darling, Superchunk. Supporting their first new album in almost a decade, Superchunk gave us even more than we could have imagined when special guest John Darnielle joined them for this number.

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7. John Roderick w/ Nada Surf – “The Commander Thinks Aloud” – March 26, 2010 Bell House. Nada Surf‘s multi-night series of full album performances had many memorable moments, but my favorite of all came from John Roderick of The Long Winters, the opening act at the Bell House/The Weight Is A Gift show. With Nada Surf as his backing band, Roderick capped off his acoustic set by tearing through a fully electric version of this big number that showcases Roderick’s unique voice. You can stream and download this song, and the entire show, on the Live Music Archive [HERE].

8. Natureboy – “I’ll Keep It With Mine” – May 15, 2010 Piano’s. This show was a special day for us, as we celebrated the third anniversary of the site with some of our favorite bands. Natureboy drew a strong crowd as our first act of that evening, and they made our night by performing, our request, their cover of this Dylan-via-Nico classic.

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9. Fucked Up – “Son the Father” – February 18, 2010 Maxwell’s. I had the pleasure of seeing Fucked Up three times this year, and each show was awe-inspiring. Damian “Pink Eyes” Abraham is a punk rock showman without parallel: on the mic, he is extremely hardcore; in between songs, he chats up the crowd like each person is his best bud. “Son the Father” is one of the band’s best songs, and it was at about this point during the Maxwell’s show that (as has to be the case at every Fucked Up show) all hell broke loose.

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10. The Black Keys – “Same Old Thing” – July 28, 2010 Terminal 5. There was a huge response to our post of The Black Keys‘ show at Terminal 5, and for good reason – it is an excellent recording of a band that is rapidly ingratiating itself with the mainstream. This song is a four-piece version of this song, with Leon Michaels on keyboards and Nick Movshon on bass.

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11. Panda Bear – “Song For Ariel (Guys Eyes)” – September 11, 2010 Governor’s Island. On the same day as the epic Dirty Projectors show back in Manhattan, Panda Bear was giving a magical performance on Governor’s Island that blew our minds both for the incredible quality of the sound (which did not always receive such good reviews for other shows) and the clarity and focus of the performance. This guitar-heavy and reworked version of this song was one of many highlights of an amazing show that also featured some new songs.

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12. Soft Black – “I’m Not Afraid of You” – August 7, 2010 A Backyard in Bushwick. This whole show was a testament to the power of the local music community and the DIY spirit of the moment. Soft Black were supposed to be playing on a rooftop elsewhere in the ‘hood as part of a benefit show for the people of the Gaza Strip. That show was shut down by the cops three acts in, while it was still light outside. But instead of giving up and calling it a night, the fans and bands rallied to move the show to one of the musicians’ backyard. Soft Black dedicated this haunting song, with its defiant refrain, to a kid who got arrested when the police shut down the rooftop show. The song itself is quite dark, but the moment was joyful, and powerful, in a way that I will never forget.

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13. Real Estate – “Reservoir” – June 25, 2010 Music Hall of Williamsburg. Real Estate is another band that has wowed us both with their consistent playing as well as their respect for their fans. We had seen them open for labelmates Woods a number of times, but this time, they found themselves as the headliner of the Woodsist showcase at the Northside Festival. This showcase was one of the best experiences of the entire Northside Festival, but Real Estate’s set in particular stood out, as the more mature band showed off some new songs, including the excellent “Reservoir.” Download the entire set [HERE].

14. Maps & Atlases – “Solid Ground” – August 12, 2010 Mercury Lounge. I caught Maps & Atlases back in 2009 touring behind their previous record, the EP You, Me and the Mountain. I liked what I saw – the unusual combination of freak folk and math rock, vocalist Dave Davison’s vocals, the dual percussionists – but they didn’t seem quite there yet. For one, while I liked their sound, I wasn’t completely blown away by the songs. That all changed with the release of this year’s Perch Patchwork, which was one of my favorite records of the year, and a massive leap forward artistically. For this show, the band was greeted by a spirited crowd literally screaming for more, and in particular, this song (you can hear a drunk dude yelling “Solid Ground!” in between every other song on the set before they finally play it). When the band finally played the song, the payoff was huge, and the jam at the end clinches it. After an outstanding set, Maps broke down their gear and put some chairs and drums in the center of the floor and played an acoustic set for those willing to wait. The performance was not only the most improved of any band that I saw this year, but also one of the flat-out best. It didn’t hurt any that the recording came out flawlessly, too. Download the entire set [HERE].

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15. Holly Miranda – “I’d Rather Go Blind [Etta James]” – May 26, 2010 Bowery Ballroom. A Bowery Ballroom headlining gig has become a barometer of a band’s success these days – for a New York band on their way up, there is your time on the scene before Bowery, and your time after, and after, things are never the same. This show represented Holly Miranda’s Bowery breakout, and she treated the event with the reverence due it as she ripped off a lengthy set representing her latest record The Magician’s Private Library, and played two covers, including this jaw-dropping rendition of an Etta James classic.

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16. Wilco – “Thank You, Friends” – April 2, 2010 Wellmont Theatre. The challenging acoustics of this venue did not deter Wilco from delivering one of the most epic sets we have seen of theirs (well over three hours long). This Big Star cover played tribute to their singular frontman, singer and songwriter Alex Chilton, who sadly passed away this March. Alex and his many contributions to rock music will be dearly missed.

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17. Sharon Van Etten – “One Day” – October 8, 2010 Rock Shop. It is no secret that this site has been a huge booster for Sharon Van Etten, and we are thrilled to see her career taking off in a big way (you can hear one of her songs, “I Fold” in the closing sequence in a recent episode of the Showtime series The Big C). In the two shows she played at Rock Shop this year, Sharon’s maturity and outstanding songwriting made us fall in love with her music all over again.

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18. Woods – “Bend Beyond” – May 13, 2010 Abrons Arts Center. In a music scene that is strong but fragmented, Woods have emerged as bi-coastal scene godfathers of sorts, in the way that Sonic Youth have been for a generation. The Woodsist label, for which the band is the anchor, has produced a roster of like-minded acts from the East and West Coasts that share a common affinity for the psychedelic, folk-influenced sound the label is known for. While they have been building a formidable presence with the label, Woods themselves have evolved far beyond the “freak folk” tag into a full-blown indie rock jam band of sorts, turning four-minute album tracks into epics that showcase their virtuosity on their instruments. This show, featuring the band backed by the Joshua Light Show, was especially sprawling, and never moreso than on this nearly twenty minute “Bend Beyond.” This show proved that this was a very different band than the act I saw opening for Dungen in 2009 – that band was a great “freak folk” act, if you will. This band is legendary.

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19. Spoon – “Car Radio” – September 13, 2010 Cake Shop. After we caught their set opening for Arcade Fire at Madison Square Garden, we weren’t sure we would have another chance to record Spoon this year. But then along came this secret show at Cake Shop, a live video recording for “Nobody Gets Me But You,” that proved to be one of the most exciting and intimate performances we saw all year. These guys remember where they came from (Austin) and we trust that they will never stop being one of the most consistent, most fan-friendly acts in the country. Download the entire set [HERE].

20. The Loom – “The First Freeze” – October 10, 2010 Backyard Brunch Sessions. We enjoyed many of the Backyard Brunch Sessions sets we saw this summer and fall, but perhaps none more than this performance by our friends The Loom, who proved that great musicians do not need extra amplification or trickery to make powerful music. Set up in a humble backyard in Bushwick, rocking a homemade bass made out of a washtub, they wowed us with their modern, folk-influenced sound. This song was my favorite of all, not least of which because of the added humor of some rowdy neighbors making noise in the background (who cannot be heard on the recording) – making a bunch of noise right before this (the quietest song of the set) song began. Once it got going, it was the most mesmerizing vocal performance of the day.

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21. Yo La Tengo – “Little Eyes” – December 7, 2010 Maxwell’s. If you have read this site once in December, you know that Yo La Tengo’s 2010 Hanukkah shows have been our main focus this month. These eight nights of unique setlists, special guests, and fan camaraderie at one of our favorite venues in the city, Maxwell’s, are some of the best nights of the year every time that YLT decides to do them. This song, from the Summer Sun album, is an expanded version augmented by the guitar wizardry of the legendary Nels Cline, who joined the band for most of this night’s set. Although we loved the December 5 show featuring Mission of Burma, this show on the 7th turned out to be our favorite of them all – a perfect balance of the band’s harder and softer dynamics that showcased them at the height of their powers.

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22. Bear In Heaven – “Lovesick Teenager” – November 19, 2010 Music Hall of Williamsburg. Bear In Heaven was another band that stepped up in a big way in 2010. A year’s worth of touring took what had been a great album act but somewhat uneven live band and turned them into the juggernaut that we witnessed at Music Hall of Williamsburg. Whereas previous shows had always faced technical limitations (primarily with respect to sound), everything was perfectly dialed in for this show, with the Music Hall sound system delivering crystal clear sound and a light show that dazzled the sold-out crowd. Not but twelve months ago this band was playing the cozy Zebulon down the street. This show was obviously this band’s “Bowery moment.”

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23. The Joy Formidable – “Austere” – January 12, 2010 Pianos. Whereas a Bowery Ballroom show tends to cement a band’s status in the scene, Pianos is Manhattan’s best incubator. Shows there tend to capture the nervous energy of bands trying to make their break who know that this could be it. We are pleased to say that since this show, The Joy Formidable did make it in a big way (including their own Bowery moment), playing tons of NY-area shows (almost all of which we saw) and bringing their music to new fans each time. Their massively loud sound is probably better suited a bigger venue, but we loved this Pianos show best of them all (and our recording sounded great).

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24. The National – “Terrible Love” – December 8, 2010 Maxwell’s. Though it borders on heresy (and is not an opinion shared by all who work on this site), I was not an instant convert to The National‘s critically acclaimed High Violet. I didn’t hate the album, but after a three year break from recording, I was not sure what I should expect from the band. High Violet didn’t grab me in the way that earlier records like Alligator did, and it didn’t help that I first saw the songs live in the sonically deficient Terminal 5, where the sound was so poor that even The National’s sound engineer commiserated with us about the venue’s challenges. Luckily, I was given a second chance at this rare set opening in the (relatively) tiny Maxwell’s for Yo La Tengo on the final night of their Hanukkah shows. This time, in this intimate setting, the subtle beauty of the High Violet songs shone through, especially on the set’s closer, this fantastic rendition of “Terrible Love.”

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25. We Were Promised Jetpacks – “It’s Thunder and It’s Lightning” – February 15, 2010 Knitting Factory. I went to this show on a lark, having never heard this Scottish trio before. Apparently I had missed the memo, as the Knitting Factory was so packed I was literally crushed against the soundboard. In the best of ways, We Were Promised Jetpacks are what I like to call Scotland’s answer to U2 – their songs rely on anthemic riffs and vocalist Adam Thompson’s throaty choruses. The band worked this crowd into a froth, the energy seething through the room, as Thompson belted out song after song in a way that could have melted the ice outside. In a show full of them, this song was a particularly stirring anthem.

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Special thanks to all of the artists, management, labels, photographers and other music sites that have supported NYCTaper this year. And of course, a huge thank you to our readers, who we hope to continue to provide with high-quality, artist-sanctioned recordings, reviews and photos throughout 2011. Happy New Year!

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