Luke Roberts needs a moment of your time

One of the greatest qualities of folk music is the story. There’s always a story in the song somewhere; you might have to search deep down in the lyrics or deep within yourself to find the story, but it’s there.

The songs on Luke Robert’s debut, Big Bells and Dime Songs, […]

Barn Owl’s psych-doom-folk is hypnotic on Lost in the Glare

Do you remember that forgotten space station marooned in some remote corner of the universe populated by two half-insane astronauts? You’ve probably seen it in a late night movie that blurred in your mind years ago. It seems impossible, but at some point our two lonely and mostly-out-of-their-minds astronauts get it together and […]

Interpol @ The NorVa

Interpol, July 24

After a nearly two year hiatus from touring and a lineup change, the atmospheric and always fashionable Interpol demonstrated Friday night at The NorVa in Norfolk, VA, that it’s back in full stride. In support of its upcoming self-titled fourth record, the NYC-based post-punk kings immediately showed off the new (not the song): the absence of lanky bassist Carlos Dengler, the additions of Brandon Curtis (Secret Machines) on keyboards and David Pajo (Slint and so much more) on bass, and the new material. I anticipated the loss of Dengler to be jarring as he and drummer Sam Fogarino were the driving forces behind the band since its debut, Turn on the Bright Lights; Pajo, however, is no stranger to the scene, and he and Curtis are more than suitable replacements.

Though the band has changed, the music hasn’t. Picking off where 2007’s moody and textured Our Love to Admire left off, nascent tracks “Success” and “Lights” build slowly and capture the band’s trademark sound. Both “Summer Well” and “Barricade” fit an OLTA mold, as well: less “PDA”-style twists and turns and more mastery of the grandiose and repetitious. The band seems to have found its comfort zone, and though Interpol may not sell out venues with ease as it had in the Antics-era, it has achieved a different kind of success.

The supportive crowd at The NorVa embraced the new material but was most electric for the band’s standout tracks like “Say Hello to the Angels,” “Obstacle 1,” and “Evil.” Confident frontman Paul “Julian Plenti” Banks rarely engaged the crowd with banter but crooned well, smiled often, and saved the stage antics (no pun intended) for energetic guitarist Daniel Kessler. There wasn’t a bum note throughout the entire set, a sign of how well rehearsed the band is, and the group’s cohesion was highlighted by Fogarino’s always impressive work on drums. The highlight of the night may have been the insistent clap-along rhythm of “Not Even Jail” or the beautifully elegant “NYC,” though fans who were present may argue it was the heavily requested “Stella Was a Diver and She Was Always Down.” This was a triumphant return to consistency for a band going through changes.

Opening acts Twin Tigers and The Postelles were solid, but the former was much more memorable. The Athens, GA-based group, accurately described as “dream noise” – think of a Sonic Youth-inspired shoegaze with pounding drums and lackadaisical vocals – romped through its set of material from debut Gray Waves. With a band name emphasizing similarity, Twin Tigers focused on contrast with its dissonant guitar harmonies.

[Photo courtesy of Roaming Lucia, Flickr.]

Setlist after the jump. Continue reading Interpol @ The NorVa

Youngster: RickoLus

“This album is a homage to my youth. I had a wonderful time but I am going somewhere new. Good bye and good riddance…”

– RickoLus via liner notes on Youngster.

I know you’ve been waiting for it (humor me): the third and final installment in Abby’s Youth Series, 2010. Today, if you […]

Wolf Parade gets so close on Expo 86

The main distinguishing factor between Wolf Parade and Sunset Rubdown, one of Spencer Krug’s many other projects, is the song construction and destination. Generally, while Sunset Rubdown prefers long-winded, ever-changing sounds and structures within the same song, Wolf Parade is its more straightforward brother. They both had some of the same qualities — the […]

Stars’ The Five Ghosts is full of consistent, illusory pop, but will it be remembered?

I am, and always have been, a huge fan of Stars. Or rather, to say it better, their potential. When they strike gold, they are utterly amazing (See: “Elevator Love Letter”, “Your Ex-Lover is Dead”, “Look Up”, “Ageless Beauty”), but oftentimes they limit themselves to songs that mosey along without much affect, relying simply […]

The Gaslight Anthem impresses, but doesn’t amaze, on American Slang

After the release of The ’59 Sound a few years ago, The Gaslight Anthem unexpectedly jumped up the ranks of indie stardom. Suddenly, their New Jersey, Springsteen-inspired rock was the subject of as many conversations as The Hold Steady.

So, then, the follow-up.

American Slang is not as good as the band’s previous […]

Suckers show promise but lack focus on Wild Smile

The much-anticipated debut full-length from Suckers is finally here, and man, I don’t know what I was expecting of the album after hearing a bit of their previous work. But that was my problem: I shouldn’t have been considering expectations – Wild Smile is all over the place, sticking to no one genre; […]

Wye Oak needs to step outside the music on My Neighbor/My Creator

Something about Wye Oak’s style — the sweet female vocals, the lush, strummed guitar, the odd bits of electronics — is instantly likeable. It sounds slightly left-of-center, but still feels familiar. After all, for all the duo’s interesting experiments, the song structures and vocals aren’t terribly hard to come by.

That said, the […]

Deer Tick struggles but makes good, authentic music on Black Dirt Sessions

It’s inevitable that within every generation of musicians that strives to break new ground with cutting edge genres and recording techniques, there is a handful that instead go back to the roots of rock and roll and draw inspiration from what is seen as a more “authentic” source. Most recently, Jack White tore […]