CHVRCHES @ The Palace Theater 10/02/18

“Get two beers in me and I’m up for anything,” Logan said to me last night, and apparently anything includes going to a capital P, Pop concert on a Tuesday night. After last minute confirmation, we ended up going and turned out to be some of the youngest there. The average age of audience members was probably 29 and everyone seemed to be drinking more than I think is necessary for a Tuesday night. Nevertheless! It was a great show and 16 year old Maia was peeing her pants so excited that I was this close to Lauren Mayberry. Photos below (I went a little over board, but JUST LOOK AT THEM!).

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SALES @ 7th St Entry 09/05/18

SALES and I go way back, not in a one-on-one, friendly sort of way, but in the way that their music has been the soundtrack to so much of my conscious, music-seeking/listening part of life. I remember hearing “Chinese New Year” way back during my junior year of high school and thinking, “wow, this sounds like summer.” Still today, it’s one of my favorite songs to play when the weather starts getting warm.

“Renee” and “Getting It On” is the beach in Florida, “Jamz” is community college, “For You” is a summer romance, “Thurs 6-25” is starting at the U, “Off and On” is last winter, and “You Look Well” is finishing finals last spring.

I’ve waited ages to see this band it seems and I was a bit nervous that they wouldn’t hold up live just because of the pedestal they’re on inside my head, but boy did they. What a good night. Wow.

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Cigarettes After Sex @ Grenada Theater 3/25/18

All words and photos by Mia Smith.

As a teen girl who loves to cry about love and things of that sort, Cigarettes After Sex is a great band to listen to for that pastime. Their beautiful songs about love and romance really remind me of that “sad girl leaving on a train” type of movie scene. Each song tells a story and they leave space for everyone to interpret it in their own way.

Seeing them live was just as amazing as I thought it would be. My friend and I got there super early and waited and waited, and it was so worth it. We were in the very front row. It almost seemed unreal – I just looked up and they were right there. Seeing the people behind the music you listen to so often is a cathartic experience, in a good way.

When it hits 8:30 the lights go down, and then they walk out and grab their instruments. No opening acts, no visuals, no colored lights. Just some smoke, plain low white lights, and good music. The simplicity of the band and how they present themselves makes the music come alive even more. The instruments and lyrics paint a vivid picture more than any lights or effects ever could. They don’t need anything flashy, just the good, simple stuff.

Their ambient pop tunes are so smooth and easy going. From the steady bass lines, the dreamy keyboard, the drums that fill in those empty spaces, and the extra dreamy vocals, Cigarettes AfterSex puts on a perfectly understated show that lets the music stand on its own.

They opened with “Sweet” and then played through most of the songs from their EP and album, and then end with “Apocalypse.” But that wasn’t the end, we demanded an encore and we got one. The actual end was “Dreaming Of You.” Then they bowed, thanked us, and walked off stage.

It’s impossible to stand still during this concert. You just have to sway. You have to. If you listen to the band, you know what I mean. If you don’t, check them out. You’ll be swaying. The atmosphere is full of so many wonderful things. There’s the sound of everyone singing along, the soft movements of everyone swaying along, and the tender moments of young couples.

Not only did Cigarettes After Sex deliver an amazing performance, they went next door to the Sundown at Grenada and had a signing. They happily signed a whole line of posters, vinyl, and took pictures with everyone who wanted one. They are very genuine people, and you can tell they’re just having a good time doing what they love to do.

Words and photos by Mia Smith (Twitter: @miamsmithh)

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Fill your Valentine’s Day void with indie pop: “Valentine” // August Hotel

Don’t have a sweet heart this year? Don’t want a sweet heart this year? In either situation, seeing those who have sweethearts being overly affectionate in public on Valentine’s Day is super annoying; after walking across campus this morning, I seriously considered starting a campaign to make hand-holding illegal on Valentine’s Day next year.

That said, the internet and streaming sites seem to be spilling over with anti-Valentine playlists (223 public playlists on spotify searchable under the name “anti valentines”). So where do you start?! How about with a brand new tune fittingly titled “Valentine” from Chicago band August Hotel.

“Valentine” brings that signature jangly twinkle of 2010-2013 indie pop heroes full force – I’m talking about literally anything by TDCC and Passion Pit, and both Foster The People’s and Walk The Moon’s first albums; the original indie kids know. That first “woo!” in the beginning is like being transported into a “fun-time-with-friends” montage in a coming of age movie.

While the lyrics are admittedly kind of heartbreak-ish, something in the optimistic sonic elements of the song and the snide delivery of the lyrics, makes this a really fun “hey remember that time you hurt me? Well I’m fine and honestly you missed out.” “Valentine” is the first single off their second EP to be released this summer, so if you like it there is more on it’s way!

The ease and dance-ability of “Valentine” made me feel like I was 15 again, and hopefully it’ll spark some dancing in you too because once you go in all the way, there’s honestly no escaping your teenage indie-pop days.

Diet Cig with The Spook School and Great Grandpa @ The Whole 2/3/18

Last night was truly a celebration of friendship and crushes, so shout out to all the bands, shout out to all the friends, and shout out to all the crushes :’)

The Spook School

Real good for those of us that have been missing some quality indie pop in our lives but have outgrown listening to the The Naked and Famous’ first album and TDCC on repeat. For fans of Radiator Hospital, The Maccabees, and Remember Sports. Songs to listen to: “Still Alive,” “Keep in Touch,” and “Body.”

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Great Grandpa

I’ll say this a million times over, again and again until I’m dead, then I’ll haunt everyone I know in the afterlife and still be saying this, but ladies who scream on stage are SO cool. The coolest. For fans of Charly Bliss, Bully, and Cayetana. Songs to listen to: “Teen Challenge,” “28 J’s L8R,” and “NO.”

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Mid-Post Friendship Appreciation

Hi Margie. Hi Syd. I love you both a lot.

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Diet Cig

They hold a special place in my heart. The first gig review for Got Any Tunes, the first interview for Got Any Tunes, led by a kick-ass lady who loves glitter just as much as I do. Their tunes are empowering and cathartic and perfect for scream-singing  and dancing all your feelings away. For fans of friendship and love and crushes and everything good and wholesome and fun in this world. Songs to listen to: Literally all of them, but especially “Pool Boyz,” “Scene Sick,” and “Bite Back.” Diet Cig, Alex and Noah (plus Anna and Karli), you are so loved.

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Alvvays’ new album “Antisocialites”

Self-proclaimed “jangle pop” group Alvvays spent the summer traveling the world with an updated lineup of dreamy, nostalgic tunes. The North American leg of the Antisocialites Tour kicked off in early October and will wrap up in their home city of Toronto with five sold-out nights in a row. If that doesn’t say enough about who they are, the new Alvvays record, Antisocialites, has received glowing reviews across the board.

Antisocialites delivers a dose of 60s-inspired, indie pop that could act as the soundtrack for a vintage movie (Ed: see the video for “Dreams Tonight” below!) or afternoon joy ride. Critics call it honest, romantic, and thoughtful, departing from the chiming melodies on their first self-titled record, but earning equally high praises.

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Singer-songwriter Molly Rankin grew up around 90s-era, Celtic folk music, but lists bands like The Magnetic Fields, Teenage Fanclub, and The Smiths as her primary influences. She and keyboardist, Kerri MacLellan, formed Alvvays in 2011 and took up roots in Toronto’s quirky scene. The band toured with major indie acts like Peter Bjorn and John and The Decemberists early in their career.

After a few years of exposure in the mainstream alternative world, they signed with Polyvinyl Records, joining a power roster along with American Football, Of Montreal, and White Reaper. Though they are often compared to Best Coast and The Cranberries, Alvvays has established their own uniquely rosy, ethereal sound that combines surf rock with noise pop.

Have a listen to Alvvays’ brilliant, kaleidoscopic new album, Antisocialites, and catch them in the First Ave Mainroom on Nov. 2nd for a show that will surely leave you starry-eyed. (Ed: ALSO check back here afterwards for coverage of the live show!)

Words by Hannah Hubbell

 

Sylvan Esso @ First Ave 08/07/17

I have so much I want to say about this show, but I feel like I won’t be able to find the right words to do it justice. Sylvan Esso has meant a lot to me over the years, their first album especially carries a lot of high school memories.

  • “Coffee” : Always reminds me of S and Ahoy Sexy!
  • “Hey Mami”: raging in the car after dance team practice
  • “Dreamy Bruises”: hiding in the darkroom for hours
  • “Could I Be”: Dancing in Iz’s bedroom too late at night

After managing a small crisis of almost not having someone to go with, I think I would have had almost as much fun by myself. Flock of Dimes put on a gorgeous set and I really wish the audience was more considerate, there was a lot of talking over her music from the people around me.

I am incredibly envious of Amelia’s sick dance moves and her energy that kept her going 110% the entire show; that girl effing killed it. There’s something so sneaky and elusive about Sylvan Esso’s slinky, electro folk-pop that it was such a wild feeling being in the pit during “Could I Be” with the entire audience singing along. Both Nick and Amelia were some of the most kind and humble artists I’ve ever been privileged enough to see perform live, I mean I don’t think Nick stopped smiling the whole set.

Sylvan Esso played a great mix of tracks off both of their albums, including some quieter ones that I hadn’t expected to make the set list. There was so much dancing. So. Much. Closing their set with arguably the biggest hit off What Now, “Radio,” They came back on stage shortly after to play a couple more songs for the enthusiastic crowd. And just like that, with a single blow of a kiss and a beautiful bow to the crowd, they were gone. Never before has a show seemed so long and so short at the same time – I’m still trying to figure it out. But for now, here are some photos!

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