Author Archives: Alex and Peggy Clark

TVD Live: Diiv at Baby’s All Right, 4/28

PHOTOS: JAMIE LANGLEY | Diiv does the same thing for me that the Neu! jam “Hallogallo” does; it just never gets old and propels me with momentum through busy city streets like living inside Sega.

I heard Diiv for the first time from a backyard behind the stage at a Mexican restaurant turned venue for the week at SXSW 2013. Some friends had just played, and we were taking refuge from the chaos back there. The moment I heard the 2 guitars passing their delicious hooks back and forth and looping around one another, I went back in to have a proper listen. I watched their set from behind and was really taken by them.

The music has a lightness and delicacy mirrored in the men themselves, quite petite and drowning in giant T-shirts, but they come across strong, purposeful with intention, and I just love all those guitar hooks and melodies which take up plenty of space that I never question the minimal vocals.

Alex, of course, already knew all about them and might have even known Cole from Beach Fossils, I forget, but regardless the vinyl was a staple of 2013 in our home. “Druun” and “Air Conditioning” off their debut full length Oshin still come up on my iPhone shuffle, and I never skip them.

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TVD Live: Trans Am, Zombi, Jonas Reinhardt at Baby’s All Right, 4/18

PHOTOS: JAMIE LANGLEY | If you had asked me at any point over the past decade or so whether I know of Trans Am, I would have answered: YES. LOVE.

Thus when I saw they were playing Baby’s All Right last Thursday, I made a deliberate note on the calendar and insisted we go even though Alex and I were also playing a show that night. We threw our gear in the car, ditched it at our practice space, and hustled over to Baby’s to catch Zombi half way through their set.

I am embarrassed to admit, at first glance I assumed Zombi was Trans Am. There were not so many people on stage and the drummer was solid, which is what I mainly remember about Trans Am, and they had that electronic-rock vibe. But they took a more expansive drone toward the end, which clued me in, and also when Alex laughed at me. His relationship with Trans Am runs deeper than mine. Back in 2004, Alex and his roommate spent a two-week period watching Wimbledon on mute while listening to Trans Am. Good times.

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TVD Recommends: Carrie Ashley Hill and Xander Duell at Baby’s All Right, 2/9

Brooklyn based recording artist Xander Duell will be performing music from his highly anticipated second solo record, Wade Laiste, which will be released by the Swedish artist collective known as Ingrid (helmed by Lykke Li, Miike Snow, and other luminaries) internationally in March 2015. The record’s first single, “Earth on its Axis,” is available on iTunes. Xander’s wild previous effort, Experimental Tape No.2 Vol.1, was released by Mexican Summer in 2011.

The experimental nature of Duell’s music rears its head in style and content atop songwriting that touches the emotional core without hesitation or regret. There is joy and sadness here, electronics and guitars, grandeur alongside the neon-lit sleaze. Calibrate your expectations appropriately on this one, but be prepared to have them shattered by this outsider work, in the spirit of Scott Walker’s numbered albums and the prime cut of ’70s soft rock.

Carrie Ashley Hill hails from Texas and also calls Brooklyn home but wrote her first song from a much different place, literally stranded in Trinidad, Colorado. “Hill’s love-weary voice recalls breathy country legends like Emmylou Harris and the resolve of Stevie Nicks,” noted the Village Voice.

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Quintron and Miss Pussycat at Baby’s All Right, 11/29

When I was a fresh young thing at art school, we would lay around on the floor and listen to Flossie and the Unicorns, whale sounds, and watch early internet animation like Miss Muffy and the Muff Mob. I was obviously high and the inter-web was just getting going as I learned to write HTML code, so one can imagine my jaw on the floor when Miss Pussycat rolls the puppet show out and I hear her voice. FLOSSIE?!?!

Yes, friends, I found out Saturday night Miss Pussycat is Flossie and the Unicorns, and I saw her puppet show LIVE for the first time—16 years later. It was a bake-off (thus sparking my memories of Miss Muffy) and the burnt hair covered demon cake won! The crowd cheered as the stuffed long red tongue licked the little cake from the giant face sewn into the backdrop. It is all just too delightfully psychedelic to even attempt to describe, so I won’t try. I’ll just say it was perfection, and I adore you Miss Pussycat.

Typically with Baby’s, I am merely passing by on my way home to have a quick drink with a friendly bartender, and I’m drawn into some amazing unexpected show; this was no exception and might take the cake, pardon the pun.

After the little demon cake and teddy bear who baked him exited the stage, it was time for Quintron and Miss Pussycat—a solid hour and a half, maybe longer, of dance mania and one man creating a cacophony of sound. He eventually is shirtless, sweating profusely never stopping for a second, playing everything at full throttle: keys, triggers, drum loops, guitar sounds, bass lines from an organ with the microphone crammed in his mouth, wind blowing from somewhere, fist pumping, crowd surfing, dance jams.

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TVD Live: Residual Kid at Baby’s All Right, 10/25

Rock ‘n’ roll is not dead and will never die.

Meet Residual Kid from Austin, 14 and 16-year-old brothers Max and Ben Redman holding down the rhythm section, and 16-year-old front man Deven Ivy.

We were walking the dog Saturday morning past Baby’s All Right and Alex popped in to check the vibe for the big Brooklyn Vegan CMJ day party and on stage there were 3 kids jamming.

At first glance he thought they must be the children of one of the sponsors having fun, and we were told a great band was playing at noon, so we took the dog home and came back.

To our pleasant surprise, these kids were the band, a perfect 3 piece, power-pop, grunge garage band. A good, old-fashioned shred-fest performed with the ease and grace of the most seasoned of road dogs complete with a collection of solid songs, especially the last one, ripe with breakdowns and vocal hooks. We have no idea how the 3 got so good so young, but we are psyched for what’s to come for them.

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TVD Live: Jozef van Wissem and Woodsman at Baby’s All Right, 9/1

We happened to stop by Baby’s All Right Monday just to say hey to a friend who was tending the bar (we swear we go other places, but it is definitely becoming our favorite NYC venue right now). We knew a little something about Jozef van Wissem, mainly that he had scored the Jim Jarmusch film, Only Lovers Left Alive which we have both wanted to see but have not.

We had no designs on the evening, allowing us to relax into soundscape bliss. The main takeaway: Jozef van Wissem is INCREDIBLE. He masterfully plucked and picked this wild, double necked looking lute.

He played hypnotic rounds adding and subtracting notes gradually, shifting seamlessly in and out of various melodies and movements. It is reminiscent of the Indian system of playing music as broken down in Paramahansa Yogananda’s Autobiography of a Yogi, a must read for the psychedelically inclined.

Towards the end of his performance he walked out into the crowd and played for each person, wanting each of us to hear and experience the true tone of his instrument. Bowing toward each of us, he honored his lute and perhaps us for sharing this moment with him. It was an intimate moment we felt quite lucky to have witnessed.

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TVD Live: Steve Gunn at Baby’s All Right, 8/22

PHOTOS: MAS HINO | We first heard of Steve Gunn when he opened for Kurt Vile at Bowery Ballroom, and we missed him. He could be seen playing on the side of the stage with Kurt Vile, but we really couldn’t hear him. We made the assumption that if you are playing guitar with Kurt Vile, then chances are you are probably pretty good at guitar.

Later that month we were record shopping at Academy Records, when it was on N 6th, and up on the wall with the staff picks was Time Off and it said, “Recommended if you like Gene Clark’s No Other.” And we do, very much so, and although it doesn’t have the volume of overdubs and sounds more like when Jimmy Page breaks out the acoustic, they were right on the money that us Gene fans would dig this record.

Sadly, his show last Friday at Baby’s All Right was the second time we have not been able to see Steve Gunn together. Last summer Alex was on tour when he played 285 Kent. It was right after an awesome Tiny Desk Concert performance and the release of Time Off, so we were certain it would be packed, sold-out even, but to my surprise there were 15 people in the room.

Gunn was absolutely amazing and everyone there was stunned in disbelief that so few people seemed aware of it. He was truly on another level that night, peaking in fact, and I’m so glad I was there. His show Friday was great as well, and he delivered all the goods—cyclical and melodic guitar riffs, mellow and sultry vocals, thoughtful somewhat vague lyrics that sink into my bones, songs that slowly build into epic jams that you find yourself lost in, and this time, a packed room. There was even a touch of myth in the murmurs, dudes attempting to explain Gunn’s past to their ladies.

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TVD Live: Jacco Gardner at Baby’s All Right, 8/16

I first heard Jacco Gardner in Oxford, Mississippi in the midst of a tour of the southern United States in 2013. I was checking out R.E.M. bootlegs, of which there was a vast selection, at a store called The End of All Music. On the store stereo was the record Cabinet of Curiosities by Jacco Gardner. They only had the one copy, and after some negotiation, Matt (one of my partners in rock) managed to score it.

We proceeded to drive all over America, and quite often this record was our soundtrack. Through rain, snow, desert heat, darkest night, and blurriest morning, Jacco always delivered.

In November of 2013, the men and I found ourselves in Manchester, England with a day off. We decided to go out and explore. Manchester is one of the classic music towns in the world, full of history and interesting people. We decided we should check out the place we were going to play the next night and seek refreshment. Once there, and successfully refreshed, we realized that Jacco was playing across the street that night. Great news indeed.

The show was glorious and intimate. It was sold out, but it could only hold 30 people at most. I remember being really struck by the back wall projections. I had forgotten how effective a vibey projection can be. How it can actually change the meaning of a song, and if not change it, then subliminally nudge your mind to listen with a different viewpoint. After the concert we met and chatted with Jacco and the rest of the group and generally made merry. I got the record for myself this time and counted down the days till we got home for Thanksgiving.

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