Wednesday, March 27, 2013

Kate Nash & Supercute!: Live At The Black Cat

Over the last twelve months, we've seen the evolution of Kate Nash.  One might say that you could notice early signs of this change on her second album, My Best Friend Is You.  She drifted from the piano and grabbed the guitar.  Could you imagine how difficult it would be to shake the "'Foundations' singer-songwriter, Kate Nash..." introduction that kicked off every article?  In retrospect, the punk rock riot grrrl has always been there and it's simply more prominent on her new album.  Just look at older tracks like "Model Behaviour" and "I Just Love You More".  I had the opportunity to see Kate Nash at the Black Cat in Washington DC last Saturday and it will be remembered as one unbelievably incredible show.

The sold out venue opened a little before the listed door time of nine, which seemed to excite the mass of people forming a twisted line around the bar.  A large portion of the crowd consisted of a younger generation, proven by the X's across their hands.  I made my way to the front of the stage and claimed a spot at the center of the second row.  Due to the lack of barrier between performer and audience, I stood about an arm's length away from the microphone.

After what seemed like an unusually long wait, which may have been an illusion due to anticipation, the opening band took the stage.  I will admit that with a name like Supercute!, I wasn't sure what to expect from them.  The band is made up of four girls: guitarist Julia Cumming, bassist LuLu Laurette Prat, drummer Ruby Tanja, and ukulele wielding singer Rachel Trachtenburg.  After the show, I was asked what kind of music they play and I had the most difficult time answering the question.  They're pop-like, but not in the "dance pop" kind of way.  It's more of a retro girl-group type vibe. They played a set of original songs and threw in a spectacular cover of "Paint It Black".  The general consensus from the venue was overly enthusiastic and they fit right in with Kate Nash.  Their set was quite an impressive way to start the night.

After Supercute! and a set change, which was filled with sing-alongs to music ranging from Nirvana to Destiny's Child, Kate Nash appeared. That's when a large part of the crowd had a meltdown.  She started the show with "Sister", one of my personal favorites from her latest record, Girl Talk. Wearing a sparkling gold dress over black leggings and red plaid shorts, she rotated between a decorated white bass, a simpler red guitar, and just a microphone, allowing her to dance spastically across the dimly lit stage.  She was accompanied by her all-female band, creating a Runaways-esque image.

The setlist consisted of songs from all three of her albums, along with multiple B-sides and non-album tracks.  She even threw in a FIDLAR cover and explained how some misheard lyrics transformed their song "Cocaine" into "Grrrl Gang".  Most of the major singles such as "Foundations", "Do-Wah-Doo", and "Kiss That Grrrl" were heard.  I'll admit that I completely flipped out when she played "Mariella" after leaving it untouched for years.

In between songs, Kate would tell humorous anecdotes about the music and her songwriting process.  Dialogue with the audience was on the heavy side thanks to many screams of "Will you marry me!" and witty responses to her banter.  During one portion of the concert, she showcased the Because I Am A Girl campaign.  She partnered with the charity during this tour and even offered autographed merch in exchange for a donation.  This activism went hand in hand with "Free My Pussy", a song inspired by the controversial arrest of Russian punk group Pussy Riot after their 2012 performance.

The main set ended with a solo performance of "Lullaby For An Insomniac". Kate's somewhat hoarse vocals left the entire room in silence after a long and powerful set.  She left the stage for moment and later returned with the band for an encore of "We Get On".  Everyone sang along as well as they could manage, knowing it would be the final song.

Instead of simply saying goodnight and making an exit after the encore, Kate had the venue play one final song over the sound system.  "(I've Had) The Time Of My Life" from Dirty Dancing was the closing track.  Yes, everyone danced and sang along to classic 80's music.  And yes, Kate Nash and her guitarist Linda Buratto crowd surfed before the band took one final bow and made their exit.  It was the perfect ending to the perfect night.

Kate Nash: Live At The Black Cat - 23/03/2013
Death Proof
All Talk 
Conventional Girl 
Kiss That Grrrl 
I Just Love You More 
Free My Pussy
Model Behaviour 
Grrrl Gang (FIDLAR Cover)
Under-Estimate The Girl 
Lullaby For An Insomniac 
We Get On

Kate Nash's new album, Girl Talk, is out now and you can grab a copy here.  If you still need to pick up her previous releases, go this way. Supercute! will release their Kate Nash produced debut album, DON'T PoP MY BUBBLE, on June 11 and they currently have a spectrum of songs available for download on their bandcamp page.  You can check out Kate's website for info on upcoming tour dates.

Thursday, March 21, 2013

Cold Cave - Oceans With No End

Cold Cave's last release, A Little Death To Laugh, was pretty much everything I could ever ask for in a heavy gothic darkwave kind of way.  To follow A Little Death To Laugh, Wesley Eisold has created yet another EP in the same vein, Oceans With No End.

Wednesday, March 20, 2013

Vampire Weekend - Diane Young / Step

A few years ago, I named Vampire Weekend's Contra the best album of 2010.  That's a decision I'll still stand by and defend to this day.  Well, give and take a few albums depending on my mood.  That was a competitive year. Anyways, Vampire Weekend have recently released two new singles from their upcoming album, Modern Vampires Of The City.  It's a double A-Side situation.

Friday, March 8, 2013

She & Him - Never Wanted Your Love

Zooey Deschanel, the queen of all things quirky, has returned to music!  It's been way too long since we've heard some new non-Christmas music from She & Him.  Deschanel and M. Ward have kept their signature feel-good vibes and bundled it all together for "Never Wanted Your Love".  There's a sweeping string section and plenty of throwback melodies.  It's exactly what you would expect from the duo and that's what makes it so lovable.

"Never Wanted Your Love" is available for download at this very moment and you can grab it here.  Their third album, appropriately titled Volume 3, will be out May 7 on Merge Records.  You can pre-order the album through She & Him's website or everyone's favorite internet store, Amazon.