Band to Watch: The So So Glos

 

Brooklyn D.I.Y. leaders mix punk ethics with pop songwriting

The quartet is comprised of two brothers (Alex and Ryan Levine) and their stepbrother (Zach Staggers), who’ve been playing music together since they were kids growing up in Brooklyn’s Bay Ridge neighborhood. The only non-relative, guitarist Matt Elkin, joined the band in 2008 after the brothers persistently sweet-talked him into it mere days before their first national tour. Since then, the So So Glos have formed a full-fledged North Brooklyn scene around themselves while honing their musical chops. Their second full-length, Blowout, was release on April 23rd through their own label, Shea Stadium Records.

D.I.Y. or Die: If you’ve ever been to an all-ages D.I.Y. show in Brooklyn, there’s a high likelihood the members of the So So Glos had something to do with it. First, they co-founded the beloved Bushwick performance space Market Hotel (now shuttered, soon to be reopened), then moved on to Shea Stadium, a bigger, badder venue that runs co-op style with help from all members of the So So Glos. The venues were created out of necessity – the band couldn’t get shows at first, so they created their own opportunities – but now the So So Glos are the ones dishing out advice to the baby bands looking to navigate the house show circuit.

Punk Ethics, Pop Songwriting: They describe themselves as simply rock & roll, and their simplicity is refreshing. Blowout is tight and well-crafted, with the guys name-checking 1960s Brill Building songwriters and Iggy Pop in equal measure. The album’s themes, on the other hand, are decidedly modern, chronicling 21st-century struggles with identity and technology in an earnest way.

New York, I Love You But You’re Bringing Me Down: The band’s perspective lies in its name, which originated as a reaction to the cooler-than-thou New York garage-rock scene of the early 2000s. “The term ‘so so glo’ originally was written into our song ‘Broken Mirror Baby,’ which was a self-critique of a whole generation of narcissists and egotists, inspired by the hip nature of New York City,” singer/bassist Alex Levine tells Rolling Stone. “It’s the apathetic vibe that we encountered when we first started the band, and it became a term that we called each other when we felt like we were being full of ourselves.” His brother Alex adds, “It’s a fight on pretending, but it’s also a self-awareness thing – a fight against your own ego.”

Via votiv

MGMT @ Brooklyn’s Barclays Center – December 13, 2013

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MGMT is the American band that’s been shaking up the indie scene for the past five years. Their style is difficult to shove into one genre of music, but contains elements of indie, psychedelic rock, and pop. MGMT broke onto the scene in 2007 with their hit album, Oracular Spectacular, which featured the hit single, “Kids”.

At the Barclays Center in December, MGMT played to an ecstatic (and young) crowd at Barclays Center that was their first NYC show in nearly 3 years. A homecoming of sorts. It’s been 5 years since I’ve gotten to see MGMT live, and that was when they were a young band opening for Beck. Back then they were still coming into their own. After seeing their performance last night, it’s safe to say they’ve definitely done so.

3/4 of first opener Kuroma were actually Hank Sullivant, James Richardson, and William Berman of MGMT. With the addition of Simon O’Connor, they created Kuroma. They had a groovy, jangly indie-rock vibe that was very lose, almost surf-rock at times.

Up next was Dinosaur Jr. who have been at it since the mid-80′s, but were opening for MGMT. Interesting choice, but you’ll hear no complaints from me. It’s always a pleasure to catch these guys, who are legends at this point. J Mascis is always a pleasure to watch at work, punching away at some powerful guitar riffs and slacker vocals that are more than influential. Bring earplugs if you see these guys, they bring the heat.

As I mentioned earlier, it’s been way too long since I’ve seen MGMT. I only saw them as an opener for Beck, and although I enjoyed it, there was definitely room for improvement. From the first note of set-opener “Flash Delirium”, I could tell that MGMT were not the same band. They sounded ten times tighter and more confident that they were 5 years ago, almost a new band entirely.

BEN

Ben – MGMT

“Time To Pretend” was the second song played, and immediately upon hearing it I was struck hard with a hit of memories and feelings from my last summer before college. It was amazing to finally get to hear all these songs from their debut album live again, as well as all the psych wonder nuggets from their tremendous follow-up albums, Congratulations, and MGMT.

They were joined by Faine Jade, who wrote the track “Introspection” and worked in a mammoth performance of “Of Moons, Birds & Monsters” which is an interestedly different animal live. It really took me off guard by how good that song is live. From there, it was a eclectic mix of all the best tracks from their career, such as “It’s Working”, “Weekend Wars”, and “Alien Days.” They played all 12-minutes plus of “Siberian Breaks” which was mind-blowing, as well as “Electric Feel” and “Kids”, both of which had fans rising from their seats screaming and dancing once the band started playing them.

MGMT

MGMT

MGMT are one of my favorite bands because they have stayed true to themselves all these years. They could have sold out and altered their sound to create 10 albums worth of songs like “Kids.” But they continued to push the boundaries of their listeners, making music that they believe in. This passion and care is carried over to their live show, which is a powerful force not to miss. It was a long wait to finally see MGMT again, but it was totally worth it.

They played most of their new record and some older tracks. Some members of Kuroma joined them onsatge for a few tunes. Sean Lennon was at the show too. (That happens at a lot of big Brooklyn shows.) It was all in all, a fine early Xmas present for a fairly wide-range of alt-rock fans.

Find the setlist below, along with a giant collection of photos from all three bands.

Setlist:

1. Flash Delirium
2. Time to Pretend
3. Introspection (With Faine Jade)
4. The Youth
5. Of Moons, Birds & Monsters
6. Mystery Disease
7. It’s Working
8. Weekend Wars
9. I Found a Whistle
10. Siberian Breaks
11. Electric Feel
12. Your Life Is a Lie
13. Kids
14. Cool Song No. 2
15. Alien Days

Encore:
16. Congratulations

Andrew - MGMT

Andrew – MGMT

Ben

Ben – MGMT

CAVEMAN BAND – TOUR 2014

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Caveman is an American band based in Brooklyn, New York. The band recorded their first studio album in 2011. Although originally self-released, the album was re-released by Fat Possum Records in 2012.  Caveman performed at SXSW 2013  and Sasquatch Festival 2013.  The band’s musical style is a mixture of indie rock and indie pop.

The video for the song “In the City” features actress Julia Stiles

 

 

Caveman
Promotional Image of Caveman the band.jpg
Background information
Origin Brooklyn, NY, United States
Genres [?]
Years active [?–present]
Labels Fat Possum Records
Associated acts [?]
Website cavemantheband.com
Members Matthew Iwanusa
Jimmy Carbonetti
Stefan Marolachakis
Sam Hopkins
Jeff Berrall

TOUR DATES – 2014

Feb 13

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Feb 17

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Feb 18

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Jun 01 RSVP
Jun 02

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Jun 03 RSVP