Tag Archives: WOOM

Sharon van Etten signs with a new label

Sharon van Etten at the Music Hall of Williamsburg in April. (Photo © 2011, Steven P. Marsh)

Powerful singer Sharon van Etten, whose great strength is in the directness of her lyrics and singing, has signed a new recording deal with Jagjaguwar Records, her publicist has announced.

Congratulations are in order. It’s a great career move for one of the best, most honest singers active today.

The move puts Sharon in the company of top indie acts such as Bon Iver, Okkervil River, Black Mountain and Dinosaur Jr. Jagjaguwar will release her third album, being produced by The National‘s Aaron Dessner, in early 2012.

The National's Aaron Dessner performing with Sharon Van Etten at the Northside Festival in Brooklyn in June.

Sharon is the second hot artist to part ways with Brookyn’s Ba Da Bing label in recent months. Ba Da Bing released Epic, an album that really boosted her profile, last year. Her connection with the label is even deeper, though. Will You Miss Me When I’m Gone? first met Sharon as a Ba Da Bing publicist, who was representing noise-rock duo WOOM.

Longtime Ba Da Bing labelmate Beirut announced in June that its next album would be self-released rather than on Ba Da Bing. The band is  continuing under Ba Da Bing’s management aegis, however. It’s unclear whether Sharon will do the same.

It looks like Sharon, an amazingly talented and genuinely nice person, is living up to our early expectations. This year alone she’s already played Bonnaroo, Sasquatch, and MusicNow. And she has dates scheduled later this year at  Bumbershoot, Musicfest NW and at the Hollywood Bowl with The National and Neko Case.

We’re thrilled to see Sharon’s continuing success.

Advertisements

Buke and Gass: rock and roll inventions

DIY noise-rock duo, plus Xylos and ArpLine open for Efterklang

Buke and Gass (Photos copyright 2010, Steven P. Marsh)

Buke and Gass.

The name is slightly mystifying. The Buke part not so much, just say it like the second syllable of rebuke. Easy enough.

But Gass? That’s a little difficult, But if you close attention to the cover of the duo’s self-produced, self-released and self-printed EP, +/-, you might notice the horizontal line over the a in Gass. That’s your first clue. It’s not gas, like the voiceover feature of my iPod would have it. It’s a long a.

The band name comes from the duo’s principal instruments — both of them jury-rigged, homemade, crazily honest.

Arone Dyer on buke.

Aron Sanchez on gass.

Arone Dyer plays the buke, a seriously modified baritone ukelele — b for baritone, uke for ukelele.

Then there’s Aron Sanchez on the gass. That’s g for guitar and ass for bass, as in bass guitar. Get it?

They also throw in some foot-driven percusson, with Aron on a juiced-up kick drum and Arone on bells and foot cymbals. Arone also does the majority of the singing, with a super flexible voice that can go from a purr to a shriek in a split second. Although there’s punk attitude and a touch of Riot Grrrl aesthetic in there, this is thoroughly modern music. Everything’s pretty wildly processed and synthesized, in the tradition of other DIY experimental duos like WOOM.

They sound like so much of what you’ve heard before, and yet like nothing at all you’ve heard.

They’re quite a pair. Arone (a bicycle mechanic) and Aron (who builds instruments for Blue Man Group) came onto the radar at Will You Miss Me When I’m Gone? at this spring’s Bang on a Can Marathon. We missed their performance at the marathon, but heard such good buzz that we picked up a copy of the EP. And we have been playing it constantly since.

Buke and Gass keep their feet busy.

Their music is celebratory, strangely melodic, enormously cathartic and just plain fun. And now, thanks to Brassland, there’s a full-length album that just dropped, Riposte.

Buke and Gass opened for Danish indie-rockers Efterklang at Santos Party House in Manhattan’s Chinatown on Friday, Oct. 1.

(Click here for a fun, insightful Stereogum interview with Buke and Gass.)

With four bands on the bill, we figured this show could make for a very long night. Luckily, all the bands were quite good — although Buke and Gass was the band we came to hear. And they didn’t disappoint.

More about the other bands, plus more photos, after the jump. Continue reading

Beirut and WOOM play The Music Hall of Williamsburg

With his rotary valve flugelhorn (no, it's not a trumpet!) slung jauntily over his shoulder, Beirut frontman Zach Condon is a devil-may-care showman. (Photos copyright 2010, Steven P. Marsh)

If you felt old at last night’s Beirut show at The Music Hall of Williamsburg, there was a reason. Elise, a fan in the crowd at my side pointed this out, saying that she felt like the oldest person in the room, even though she appeared barely older than the band’s 24-year-old frontman Zach Condon.

The boys of Beirut.

The explanation is simple: The first night of the two-night, sold-out stand at Beirut’s home venue was essentially designated youth night. Beirut’s record label, BaDaBing, arranged for Monday night’s show as an 18-and-older gig and a block of tickets was sold at the box office only for the bargain price of $9.99 to give young fans a chance to see what one critic has dubbed “the best indie rock band of the 19th century.”

BaDaBing head Ben Goldberg, explains:

Hey everyone, the first show on July 5th is an 18+ show, the second is 21+. We wanted to make sure all those of you without credit cards of your own or superspeed internet connections are able to potentially get tickets, hence why the $9.99 is only available at the box office and won’t carry any handling fees.

Looking forward to seeing all you pale skins’ post-Independence day sunburns!

–ba da ben

Last night’s show was simply amazing. Beirut played a solid 90-minute set, kicking things off with “Elephant Gun” and romping through a sing-along set of all the band’s best-loved songs. It seemed far too short, but satisfying all the same. (And selling out @MusicHallofWB for two nights in a row seems like quite an accomplishment for a band that hasn’t released a proper album since 2007 and probably won’t have the next one ready until Spring 2011!)

Zach exudes a charm and confidence that belies his age. He appears comfortable onstage and has the swagger of a latter-day Sinatra. He’s not so much electrifying as he is charming and seductive. His warm style and the band’s tightness won a lot of love from the audience.

If I had ever imagined that flugelhorn and trumpet would someday become this hip, I might have thought twice about giving up playing brass after high school. Zach and his bandmates are among a number of influential young musicians who have managed to make the rock world safe for old-school instruments — French horn, trumpet, flugelhorn, accordion, ukulele and trombone.

We didn’t shoot any video last night, but lots of other concertgoers had video cameras. Here’s one of “The Penalty” posted by a fan known on Twitter as @projectnrm. The sound quality doesn’t really do the performance justice, but no matter, the enthusiasm is there:

WOOM is always in motion. The band's scrappy, bare-knuckled sound is irresistible.

Openers WOOM, a silly but joyous husband-and-wife band, charmed the crowd with a nice set of DIY beats coupled with Sara Magenheimer‘s vocals and Eben Portnoy‘s scratchy guitar riffs.

In addition to their usual repertoire, they debuted their version of Elizabeth Cotten‘s folk tune “Freight Train” last night. Though it had some rough edges, it was an intelligent and entertaining deconstruction of a song that’s been covered by many artists over the years, including Joan Baez, the Grateful Dead and even Laura Veirs, with the highly recognizable chorus: “When I die, Lord, bury me deep/Way down on old Chestnut Street/So I can hear old No. 9/As she goes rolling by.”

WOOM’s first full-length album, Muu’s Way, is out today on BaDaBing. It’s available from Amazon.com and other music outlets.

Click through to the jump for more photos from last night’s show. Continue reading

WOOM charms New York with DIY rock

Sara Magenheimer and Eben Portnoy make charmingly DIY music together as WOOM onstage at Death By Audio in Williamsburg, Brooklyn, on May 19, 2010. (Photos coypright 2010, Steven P. Marsh)

WOOM, a charming, Oakland, Calif., -based DIY duo, played two shows in New York City before heading to Europe to tour as an opener for Xiu Xiu well into June.

Will You Miss Me When I’m Gone? was fortunate to catch their set at Death By Audio in South Williamsburg, Brooklyn, last Wednesday (May 19, 2010), the night before they headed to Newark Liberty International Airport to head out on tour. The pair — Eben Portnoy on guitar and vocals and Sara Magenheimer on vocals and electronics — played a fuzzy, beat-driven set that was an absolute joy to hear.

WOOM at Death By Audio.

An Intimate Exchange of Ideas

The pair played their hearts out, bouncing ideas back and forth between them casually but with obvious skill.

The band is due back in New York City at the end of June for the Northside Festival, which runs from June 24-28 in Williamsburg and Greenpoint. Festival badges are $50 and available here.

WOOM’s first full-length album is scheduled to drop on June 28 on Ba Da Bing Records. In the meantime, check out WOOM’s music on MySpace.