September 21, 2009

Pela Announces Break Up

Last Friday, Brooklyn Vegan posted a letter written by Pela announcing that the band's no longer together. We at Brassland thought we'd re-post the letter, taken from Pela's website:

Thank you, and good night.....

It is with great sadness that we write you today. Pela's collective journey has come to an end.

Over the past 2 years we've faced tremendous obstacles. We recorded an album twice, had a falling out/legal battle with our old label, fired 2 managers, had a big record deal fall through, and Billy had a hand injury followed by a foot injury.

We've worked tirelessly to get our music out of ourselves and into your ears. We wo...

September 17, 2009

Jay-Z + Nico-M = Hip-Hop

In the past, we at Brassland headquarters figured that Baby Dayliner was about as hip-hop as any artist on the roster would get. But consider this: At the encore for last week's 802 Tour show in Harlem, Nico Muhly played Mariah Carey's "My All" and joined Doveman and Sam Amidon in a rendition of R. Kelly's "Relief." This followed hot on the heels of Jay-Z's recent claim that indie rock could "push hip-hop to go even further."

With that in mind, this week's Pitchfork review of Hova's new album The Blueprint 3 brought up a musical partnership that we found particularly intriguing:

"...Jay-Z's probably right about about his claim this year that hip-...

September 16, 2009

The 802 Show at Miller Theatre Reviewed by NY Times

Last week, The 802 Tour reconvened for a one-off performance at Columbia University's Miller Theatre. While we at Brassland certainly liked the show, another, more important source enjoyed it, too.

The New York Times voiced its appreciation of the show's "seamless flow" in its live review, mentioning Doveman in particular, whose "piano-driven ballads, including some from a forthcoming CD, The Conformist, had a shadowy, confessional intimacy that was accentuated by his tremulous, nearly whispered croon."

Nico Muhly was given a positive appraisal, as well, with the Times mentioning in particular his "appealing instrumental compositions [that] drew on Philip Glass&#...

September 11, 2009

Tickets For Dessner Brothers' Composition, The Long Count, Now On-Sale

As we mentioned in June, Bryce and Aaron Dessner will be performing their new, 70-minute composition, The Long Count, at the Brooklyn Academy of Music's Next Wave Festival on October 28th, 30th, and 31st at 8 pm.

The composition - which features a 14-piece ensemble as well as guest vocalists Kim and Kelley Deal (The Breeders), Shara Worden (My Brightest Diamond), and Matt Berninger (The National) - combines music and visuals (courtesy of Matthew Ritchie) to, according to BAM, "create a song-filled myth about the beginning of time." The National's e-mail newsletter was more direct, mentioning that the piece is loosely based on Popol Vuh, a Mayan creation myth revolving aro...

September 9, 2009

Pitchfork Posts News on New Doveman Album

As you may remember, Doveman released a couple of songs to Brooklyn Vegan and Stereogum as a preview for his upcoming album. Yesterday, Pitchfork posted a little story revealing the album's title (The Conformist), cover (pictured left), tracklist, and a new song featuring The National's Matt Berninger, which you can stream below:

The Conformist will be released October 20th.

In other, more immediate news, The 802 Tour is having its sole 2009 show tonight at Columbia University's Miller Theatre. Featuring Doveman, Nico Muhly, and Sam Amidon "playing each other's music," they're also bringing in a...

August 10, 2009

802 Tour Reprised for Wordless Music Series

In August 2008, the 802 Tour - named after Vermont's only area code, curiously enough - made its way up and down the American coasts (with a couple stops in Canada). Featuring Green Mountain State natives Sam Amidon, Doveman, and Nico Muhly, the shows were collaborative efforts with each musician assisting the others in livening up each others' songs in a casual atmosphere; Sam played folk ballads, Doveman whispered his lamp-rock creations, and Nico performed high-brow, classical "pieces." The shows were a success.

If the previous paragraph induced either nostalgia (assuming you attended) or regret (assuming you didn't), there's good news - it's back. On Sept...

July 27, 2009

AHB-Curated Happy Ending Music and Reading Series Coming to Joe's Pub

For the past few months, Brassland co-founder Alec Hanley Bemis has been working as a "musical guru" of sorts with author Amanda Stern's Happy Ending Music and Reading Series at Joe's Pub in New York City. The series - which the Village Voice has described as "perenially killer" - is holding its latest installment on Wednesday, August 5th. Curated by the guru himself, the evening's theme is titled "Process and Progress," which AHB's blog describes as "creativity in action - how makers actually make what they make."

The night's musical lineup features saxophonist Colin Stetson - who's worked with Tom Waits, Arcade Fire, TV on the Radio, and The National (a...

July 24, 2009

The National Finish up US Tour, Cover Polaris for Benefit Album

The National have been pretty occupied this summer in a low key kind of way, playing shows and working on their latest studio creation. Recently, their short tour of the Midwest - which also included a stop in Ottawa - ended with a headlining spot at the Pitchfork Music Festival on July 18th.

In other news, a stream of The National's take on Polaris' "Ashamed of the Story I Told" has been circulating around the interweb. We enjoyed it and thought maybe you'd like a listen:

For those unaware, the song is the group's contribution to Ciao My Shining Star: The Songs of Mark Mulcahy, a tribute/benefit album for...

July 20, 2009

Bryce Dessner Composes for Kronos, Interviewed by Pitchfork

It's been a slow July in Brassland, with nearly three weeks having passed since our last news post. But while we've kept our summer lazy, Bryce Dessner has stayed a busy boy. In addition to playing at the premiere of "2x5" by Steve Reich in Britain on July 2nd, there was the premiere of Bryce's own piece, "Aheym," for Kronos Quartet at Prospect Park this past Thursday for the Celebrate Brooklyn! Festival. Following Kronos's performance, the paper of record wrote a nice little review that mentioned (in passing) both The National and Clogs. Some video from the event:

Also worthwhile is this Pitchfork interview with Bryce, asking him about his various en...

July 1, 2009

A General Bryce Dessner Update

In our previous update on The National, 15 year-old Scott G. wrote us an e-mail asking about the band's new album and its creative process. Seeing the value of digital communication, National and Clogs guitarist Bryce Dessner sat down and composed an electronic letter for us, as well, detailing the various projects that will be keeping him busy over the next few months. So without further ado...

An Update On My Music-Related Happenings, by Bryce Dessner

Hello everyone - happy rainy summer! There are a few big events for me coming up this summer and fall that I felt like I should share with you. They are happening in various locations both in NY and elsewhere so hop...

June 24, 2009

Wrap-Up of Doveman's Show at Le Poisson Rouge

As many of you probably know, Doveman played a show last Thursday at Le Poisson Rouge with backing noises provided by Sam Amidon, Nico Muhly, and select members of The National (Aaron, Bryce, and Bryan). Brooklyn Vegan was there to document the evening with digital images and an overwhelmingly positive post-gig review from Gangster Legs, whose appreciation for the evening's entertainment initially seemed suspect. (One doesn't think of the Brassland Family as particularly "gangster." Baby D...maybe?) Regardless, the kind words were more than welcome, so thank you, Gangster Legs. A couple of pictures, courtesy of someone named Fresh Bread:

The gang, cranking...

June 23, 2009

Dessner Brothers Composing New Piece for BAM's Next Wave Fest

Fresh off performing with fellow Brasslander Doveman at Le Poisson Rouge last Thursday, Bryce and Aaron Dessner are now finishing work on another project unrelated to their steady gig as guitarists for The National. As reported on Brooklyn Vegan, their new piece - titled The Long Count - will play October 28-31 at the Brooklyn Academy of Music's Next Wave Festival and feature the work of visual artist Matthew Ritchie (who some may remember from his previous collaboration with Bryce). A description of the project, courtesy of BAM's website, follows below:

"In an inspired collision of creative worlds, three inexhaustibly original artists - brothers Bryce Dessner and Aaron De...

June 17, 2009

New Doveman mp3 on Brooklyn Vegan

A while back, Stereogum posted a Doveman update featuring a download of "Breathing Out," a song off of the band's still-untitled new album. (To stream the song, click the blue box; to download it, click here.)

Yesterday, Brooklyn Vegan got in on the action, posting a Doveman update of their own, complete with a download for a groovy new leak titled "Hurricane." (To get your dancing shoes on, click that blue box; to put the song on your iPod, click here.)

In addition to posting the new mp3, also mentioned Doveman's show tomorrow at Le Poisson Rouge, where Thomas will be backed by Sam Amidon and Aaron, Bryce, and Bryan from The National. The group...

June 1, 2009

A National Update Per Scott G.'s Request

Not long ago, Brassland's #1 employee received an e-mail from Scott G., who had this to say:

Dear Glenn,

I am 15 yrs old and a HUGE fan of the National. I know their music is not really intended for my age group, but that's just because young people's music tastes suck these days. I just had two questions:

1. Any news when their new album will be out? I went to the concert last night, and they played a couple of new songs (Baby, Vanderlylle, Blood Buzz, and one other). When will this album come out?

2. How come they do primarily morose songs? Is it because of real-life experiences? Difficult relationships? Or are they just easier/more fun to w...

May 30, 2009

Nico Muhly's Latest Work Composed For The Nose

On May 31 and June 1, new Nico Muhly compositions will will make their way to New York's Guggenheim Museum. As reported in the Wall Street Journal, the new pieces were written with Mothertongue producer Valgeir Sigurdsson for the world's first scent opera (titled "Green Aria"), created by entrepreneur Stewart Matthew and fragrance designer Christophe Laudamiel. For those curious about the genre of "scent opera," the WSJ had this to say:

"In a darkened theater, audiences will be bombarded with smells, blasted in six-second sequences by a scent 'microphone' attached to each seat. The scents tell the story of an epic struggle between nature and industry."


May 27, 2009

"Nico Suave" in Newsweek, on Grizzly Bear Album

Last Saturday, Newsweek published a profile of Nico Muhly, cleverly titled "Nico Suave." It's available online, too. The piece lightly tackles the possibility of Nico overload, which has already been addressed by the composer himself. (Scroll to the bottom of the post to read Nico's thoughts on his own press coverage.) On the bright side, my Grandma in Iowa - now aware of Nico's existence - may venture over to the Brassland Store to purchase Mothertongue.

The good exposure from the article, however, hasn't stopped the obvious jokes being made regarding Nico and that of yore, '90's heartthrob Gerardo. In a Nico tweet that has long since been relegated to th...

May 25, 2009

Doveman mp3 Leak on Stereogum, Show in June at LPR

Last Thursday, Stereogum posted a Doveman update that included an exclusive leak of his new song "Breathing Out." (Click the above link to stream the song.) The song's release comes in anticipation of Doveman's new album, produced by Grammy-winner Patrick Dillett (David Byrne, Mary J. Blige). For those anxious to hear Doveman's follow-up to Footloose, we can only preach a little patience - we'll keep you posted on details regarding its release, which is expected later this year.

In other news, Doveman has recently been seen backing pretty much everybody (My Brightest Diamond, Bon Iver, David Byrne, The National, and Nico Muhly). On June 18th, however, he'll...

May 18, 2009

Brassland and Family Tweeting, Twitter on

In an effort to keep up with Fox Sports, we at Brassland started our own Twitter account to provide an outlet for quick Brassland-related updates, random thoughts, and other "tweets." The extended Brassland family hasn't been immune to the Twitter craze, either - Nico Muhly, Erik Friedlander, and Doveman each have their own Twitter pages.

To accommodate all of this Brassland twittering, we've created a stream that updates the latest Brassland and Brassland artist tweets, making it easy to view what the entire Brassland roster is up to. You can read the updated tweets, nicely boxed in an aesthetically-pleasing baby blue, on our homepage as well as (for a slightly more in-depth tw...

May 14, 2009

Baby Dayliner Returns With MP3, Heavy Airplay on KEXP

The Tenth Sexiest Everyday Man of 2008 has returned for some 2009 sexiness. This week, Baby Dayliner surfaced on KEXP 90.3 with his new song "You Push, I'll Go." The very dance-able, very catchy track has everything we've come to expect from Baby D - detailed lyrics, layered rhythms, and a matter-of-fact-but-still-smooth croon. (For curious listeners, the song's available for download here. To stream, click the blue triangle.)

For those in the NYC area, Baby Dayliner is also DJ'ing as a guest tonight on KEXP's To The Five Boroughs, hosted by John Richards. The show begins 8:00 pm, so tune in.

This recent increase in activity marks the beginnings...

May 7, 2009

The National and Nico on Fallon

Other than the release of the Aaron & Bryce Dessner-curated Dark Was the Night compilation and the whole band's appearance at the DWtN benefit show at Radio City Music Hall, things have been rather quiet lately for The National. Sure, they've been preparing for their largely sold-out May tour and, sure, one might gather that the band is, theoretically, working on a new album. That we venture to guess such things, however, does not make these things true. It's so hard to know what goes on beyond closed doors and, more specifically, outside of the icy glare of the internet and its many news outlets.

One thing we can verify: The National did manage to pay Jimmy Fallon a vis...

May 4, 2009

Dark Was The Night at Radio City Music Hall Wrap-Up

This past Sunday, musicians that appeared on the Dessner-curated Dark Was The Night compilation descended upon Manhattan's Radio City Music Hall to play a show and help raise money for HIV/AIDS awareness. The performers included, among others, Bon Iver, Dirty Projectors, David Byrne, Feist, My Brightest Diamond, The National - pretty much everyone who falls under the "current strain of NPR-friendly indie rock perfect for Hamptons hammocks" (to quote one ambivalent Pitchfork write-up).

Stereogum and Brooklyn Vegan were also present to cover the event. A few moments captured for posterity (photos by Amrit Singh and Natasha Ryan):

The Dirty Projectors

May 1, 2009

Sycamore Now Hosting Shows in Brooklyn, Including The Havels

Sycamore, a florist-shop-cum-bar located in Brooklyn's Ditmas Park, has begun hosting live shows. While this may seem like random news at first, we assure you that it isn't. In addition to being located in the borough where Brassland makes its general home and in the neighborhood where multiple Nationals make their specific homes, the new venue semi-frequently brings in the band's own Scott Devendorf to DJ (see left). Jessica, Sycamore's booker (who also happens to be Aaron and Bryce Dessner's sister), explained Sycamore's vibe to Brooklyn Vegan:

"We're starting slowly, to be sure everything is done right. The goal is about 3 to 4 shows a week, and in gen...

April 25, 2009

On June 18th, Doveman Will Be Backed By The National and Sam Amidon at LPR

Having temporarily taken a break from gigging to finish up the recording of his latest album, Doveman will return to the stage for a performance at Greenwich Village's Le Poisson Rouge on June 18th at 7:30. Backed by Sam Amidon, who will also play an opening set, as well as Aaron, Bryce, and Bryan from The National, Thomas will play some songs off of the new record.

To guarantee that you hear the new tunes, be sure to buy your tickets early. You can purchase them online here.

April 14, 2009

Nico Does Dance at Joyce Theater, His Hair As Well

On April 28th, the premiere of Nico Muhly's latest piece, "I Drink The Air Before Me," will take place at New York's Joyce Theater. The piece - commissioned for a new performance by the Stephen Petronio Company (a Big Apple-based dance company celebrating its 25th anniversary) - will be played live by Nico, his ensemble (including one Doveman), and the Young People's Chorus of New York City. If you've ever wondered how the "atmospheric and internal storms and the power of extreme weather in all its awesome transience" would sound and look when performed by human beings, this is definitely your show. For tickets, click here.

In other, less high-brow news, watch th...

April 6, 2009

Clogs To Play Pablo Neruda Tribute Concert

After a long period of R&R, Clogs resurfaced in 2009 at the Brooklyn Academy of Music, sharing a bill with Bell Orchestre and the Brooklyn Philharmonic. As was duly noted, the show went very well, indeed.

Now the band returns for its second major show of the new(-ish) year, playing a new piece by Padma Newsome at the World Financial Center's Winter Garden on April 15th as part of Songs of Love and Despair: A Musical Tribute to Pablo Neruda. The evening, which aims to "feature readings music as settings for Neruda's poetry," takes place from 8:00-9:30 pm and will also feature Irene and Vojtech Havel, Laurie Anderson, and Colin Stetson (Bell Orchestre, Arcade Fir...

April 2, 2009

"The Lincoln Shuffle" Show Sold-Out

As we mentioned a few days ago, Bryce Dessner is appearing in Philadelphia on April 2nd (today, for those who have trouble keeping track of such things) to perform The Lincoln Shuffle, a series of short pieces Bryce wrote to celebrate the 200th anniversary of the dude's birth in a log cabin.

The show, which has officially sold-out, will be occurring at the Rosenbach Museum and Library at 6:30 pm. For directions to the museum, click here.

March 28, 2009

Dessner News: MusicNow Wrap-Up and "The Lincoln Shuffle" Show

Earlier this March, Bryce Dessner was back in Cincinnati, Ohio, for the 2009 MusicNow Festival. The festival, which ran on March 11th and 12th, featured a diverse lineup, including the Kronos Quartet, The Books, and Richard Reed Parry (of Arcade Fire and Bell Orchestre fame). Some pictures of the event (all taken by Keith Klenowski) can be seen below:

For more photos, feel free to visit MusicNow's Flickr Photostream. To watch Bryce and Aaron Dessner, Richard Reed Parry, and Tyondai Braxton (from Battles) perform an impromptu jam, click play below:

In other news, "The Lincoln Shuffle" -...

March 24, 2009

Doveman Update: New Album, New Show

It's been awhile since Doveman made some news in these here parts - after a UK tour in January and a sold-out performance of Footloose at Joe's Pub in February (pictures of which can be seen on BrooklynVegan), Thomas and the gang have laid low, putting songs on tape for a spankin' new record. While the details are still a little secretive, we can divulge that the new record will feature Sam Amidon as well as Aaron, Bryce, and Bryan from The National making various noises and sounds. So get excited and stuff.

In addition, Doveman will be playing with Sam, Aaron, Bryce, and Bryan at Le Poisson Rouge on June 18th. You can purchase your tickets here on LPR's ticket se...

March 5, 2009

Brassland's Big in Britain

This past January, Doveman completed his first tour of the United Kingdom, hitting small venues in big cities but nevertheless making a considerable impression. (Mnemonic's Comment: "Doveman with Nic Muhly and Sam Amidon at Cafe Oto. This would have been the gig of the year if not for...Leonard Cohen at RAH. Worth every penny of the £100 ticket. I still have his songs going through my head now.")

Other Brassland artists, however, are making the jump to the musical equivalent of the English Premier League, playing venerable UK institutions both old and new. First with the old: while The National travel the European summer festival circuit, they'll make a stop in London on Augu...

March 2, 2009

Clogs Receives Interweb Love Following BAM Show

Last Thursday, Clogs played the Brooklyn Academy of Music with Bell Orchestre and the Brooklyn Philharmonic in a comeback concert (of sorts). The band's emergence from relative hibernation was greeted with enthusiasm on various music websites, including The New York Times, whose critic (Jon Pareles) concluded that "there was no question that the classical and indie realms can share a border where music turns pensive, knotty and otherworldly." It's obviously been a while since the dude reeled through Lantern on his Walkman, but better he come to this conclusion late rather than never.

Stereogum was also present, snapping photos and gushing over the appear...