Posts Tagged ‘Mercury Lounge’

Taking  a break from opening up for Passion Pit‘s current tour, The RAA (Rural Alberta Advantage) packed up their minimal set of instruments to play two sold out shows at Mercury Lounge on January 9th.  The Canadian indie folk-rockers bear an audio resemblance to Neutral Milk Hotel, but perhaps a bit more gritty in certain places and with one less band member.

Frontman Nils Edenloff, admittedly fighting a cold during the show, managed to find the vocals to complete the first of two 50-minute sets for the night, covering most of their debut album (Hometowns) and some new tracks off an upcoming release.  Chatting up with Edenloff before the show,  he admitted that Mercury Lounge felt more at home for this band (versus the grand Terminal 5 they had attempted two nights in a row as the openers for Passion Pit) – clearly not a huge fan of T5 (and rightfully so).  I think the audience would also agree.  I can’t imagine  Amy Cole’s multitasking efforts on the xylophone, tambourine, and snare drum to really translate as well as it did in the basement-type venue and in front of Saturday night’s audience.  Snapshots and one of their standout tracks below:

Hockey, Portland-based and awesome.  Photos from the August 10th Mercury Lounge show below…

After the show, lead singer Ben Grubin shared that they’ll be returning to NYC in October – although no dates have been scheduled (hoping it’s part of the CMJ music showcase!).  He also clarified the album release of October 6th (previously slated for September).  Last, he showed a little shame after I mentioned JCPenney’s gig a few days prior at Bowery Ballroom.  Understandable that they’ll want that promotion to pass, but we’ll have to wait and see how much it’s really gonna help album sales…

And yeah, he wore the same shirt he wore to Bowery.  How hipster.

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On Saturday night, May 30th, at Mercury Lounge in the Lower East Side, three new up-and-coming acts provided 2.5 hours of indie pop greatness – a last-minute spur of the moment decision on a great Saturday night…

First up, Elevator Fight:  a slice of edgy pop reminiscent of the early No Doubt craze smeared in perfect melodies and catchy choruses.  Working to their advantage is a strong front(wo)man with real showmanship, strong vocals with a nod to Nelly Furtado’s unique sound.  Meeting her after the show, and much to my surprise, they don’t have an album cut yet.  In fact, they aren’t signed to a label, but they are shopping around for one.  That young lead singer is in fact Zoe Kravitz, the talented spawn of Lenny and Lisa Bonet (although we didn’t realize that at the time that we met).  Time will tell if that little bit of family history will create some buzz to drive them to a record deal sometime soon….but even without Lenny’s endoresment, the band deserves it.

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Next, we had I Was a King – a Norwegian band that’s slowly generating more and more buzz around the states. The band hit the stage and was all business – no banter, no introductions, low lighting, and each song started and ended within one to two minutes.  This band is essentially for Weezer fans that are in a major hurry….

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Last, none other than The Rural Alberta Advantage – a trio so simple with one guitar, a drum set, a snare drum, tambourine, and a xylophone, together create a large sound with a style that draws comparisons to Neutral Milk Honey.  My favorite track off their debut album (recently signed to Conor Oberst’s label, Saddle Creek Records, Hometowns is out July 7th) is “Don’t Haunt This Place” – a heartbreaking story about a doomed relationship with some unanswered questions about the future and many loose ends left to tie.  And, their final song, sung in the crowd, in complete darkness (I even used flash), was pretty damn amazing.

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Quite possibly the best $10 concert ticket ever spent….

Ed-G.