Gareth Emery on the Sold-out, New York Launch of his ‘Electric For Life’ Tour

Just a day ahead of his Terminal 5 gig this Saturday, English producer and DJ Gareth Emery can confirm the show’s pretty much sold out. This is a major feat for the progressive trance artist who’s rapidly earned a top-roost status for his melodic and uplifting interpretation of EDM. The Saturday show in New York is also the official launch of his Electric For Life tour and will precede stops in both Los Angeles and London.

“I’ve never played Terminal 5 before, so I absolutely cannot wait for the show,” he marveled to BlackBook in a pre-concert exclusive. “It’s sold out, so [there] will be an absolutely incredible atmosphere.”

(For those who missed out on tickets, he’ll be at Pacha tonight for a pre-party).

Emery’s four-hour set promises to pack a punch, though the larger venue is a departure for the DJ as a solo act in New York.

“I’m playing an all night set [with] lots of different genres,” he explained. “EFL represents the best of electronic music—it’s a celebration.”

The Road to EFL, a sold-out, warm-up tour which took Emery everywhere from Miami to Toronto, Chicago to San Francisco, was already met with overwhelming success.

“We have loads of fun extras like face painters, glow sticks and custom visuals to really give the crowd an amazing experience,” Emery promised. “Fans should also note that the tour will be somewhat of a departure from just trance music, representing ‘a full spectrum of dance music, while breaking down the boundaries of genres.”

The Terminal 5 show is in support of his new radio platform Electric For Life, which can be heard on Sirius XM’s Electric Area Channel 52 in North America.

It will take a flashy turn at the tables for Emery to truly impress the Terminal 5 crowd, but our past experiences tell us this should be no problem.


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The Flaming Lips and Yoko Motherflippin’ Ono!

The Flaming Lip performed at Terminal 5 last night. Wow. Sure, I could describe the show with big fancy adjectives – but there’re better writers out there that can do that and seeing the Flaming Lips is more of a present moment experience. For example, blogger Salvatore Bono did a really great job of summing up the show and telling us about it in chronological order – from start to finish. Well done. Lead singer Wayne Coyne conducted the psyche musical affair like a leader of a strange church whose religion involves a full-frontal assualt on sight and sound – and occasionally smell. We listened. We watched. We occasionally screamed, "LIPS!" 

Opening the show was Sean Lennon’s new band, The Ghost Of A Saber Tooth Tiger. I bet they were good. (This writer missed seeing them because the cab from Brooklyn to Terminal 5 took much longer than was expected, but Salvatore Bono described the experience as: "It was fascinating watching Lennon play.")

One of the highlights of the evening was a surprise appearance from Yoko Motherflippin’ Ono. Yes, the woman who broke up The Beatles set the room screaming. Wayne commanded her to the stage by saying, "I’d like to bring out the mom of one of the musicans here tonight." Hello Yoko. The innovator of the Fluxus Movement shrieked her way into our hearts with a visual spectacle that burnt into our retinas.

If you don’t believe me, simply check it out for yourself: 

Peter Hayes Of Black Rebel Motorcycle Club Talks Rebellion, Rock, & Their New LP

Black Rebel Motorcycle Club’s Peter Hayes is no stranger to the turbulence synonymous with a long career in rock. The band’s 15-year run seems to have entertained an ever-shifting balance of the good and bad – from great reviews touring the world, to bored critics, substance abuse, and everything between. The band’s most recent hurdle came with the devastating loss of Michael Been, founder of The Call, father of bandmate Robert Levon, touring sound manager, and overall inspiration.

However, light shines in with Specter at the Feast, the band’s sixth studio LP and arguably best work since Howl. We were lucky enough to encounter the soft-spoken wisdom and unaffected perspective of front man Peter Hayes backstage before their show at Terminal 5 to talk about the new album, rebellion, his thoughts on American Idol and The Voice, and the current state of rock.

Specter at the Feast is a welcome departure from a sound beginning to get stuck in a genre that was no longer necessarily exciting, but this album still has those psychedelic and sentimental elements so essential to your sound. Was this shift intentional or part of a natural progression?
It’s always intentional to try and do something different. We don’t want to repeat ourselves, and at the same time don’t want to be too concerned with sounding new because that’s a whole other world of bullshit.

One thing I love about this album is it functions as a unit, like a journey, something commonly forgotten amidst a landscape of disjointed mp3s, Pandora, etc. Is the album as an art form dissolving?
All we’ve got, really, is an album. We don’t have singles that last for too long as far as radio goes. It’s something that you think about in the process. If you happen to have a single, it has to be a certain time, a certain length, blah blah. If that happens to happen, then great, if it doesn’t, you still just want to write a good song. As far as putting it in an album, that’s the fun part of it, to try to make it have a point and have a song movement rather than just slapping songs together. But I guess it doesn’t particularly matter anymore, I can see how people don’t give a shit about it. I guess it’s unfortunate, but that’s their choice. It’s not everybody’s cup of tea to want to get involved in music on another level. It’s not for everybody.

You were in the rock band Brian Jonestown Massacre. How did the transition happen from BJM to BRMC?
Well, we already had this band going. Rob and I were playing music together, and we were fans of that band. I was floating around and saw it as an opportunity to see if I wanted to see what could be done with music, to see if I really wanted to do it. I took it as an opportunity to try and learn a little bit. And I did; I learned a lot. I went on their first US tour, did a bit of studio stuff, and then left when I didn’t feel like I was learning anymore. The transition was really that they were moving to Los Angeles [from San Francisco] at the time and one of their guitar players wasn’t willing to move, so I tried out.

Is Anton [Newcomb] really as crazy as he’s portrayed in Dig!?
(Laughs) No, no. I’ve met a lot of weird people. He’s a lovely dude. I think the girl that made that movie got a little too personal. She wanted to be friends and she crossed that line a lot. Then when she’d get angry, she’d… I mean, the shit happened. It’s on tape. You can’t deny it. But she missed a lot. She missed a whole big portion of how that whole tour ended. She kind of had to piece that together in a whole different way because she wasn’t there.

The band suffered a devastating loss with the passing of Michael Been, father of Robert Levon Been and former front man of The Call. How did this shape the album?
It’s a life experience, really. That’s all. We’re all going to have it, if we haven’t already. We tend to come at it more talking to the listener, with the idea being that the listener has already had the experience or is having one similar. It’s not about “here is us and here are our woes,” or my woes. It’s more “here’s ours, so let’s talk about it together.” It’s not about specifics for us in terms of music. But shaping it, yeah. He’s been involved since the very beginning when we were playing in his living room.

It’s been three years since your last album. How much of that time was spent writing and recording, and has the band’s process evolved through the years?
I guess about a year and a half or two of writing and recording. It was off and on. We went from rehearsal to try and piece it all together, throwing around ideas for a long time. Then that turned into picking songs. From there, we went into the studio, put down a few songs, 10 or 12, pieced together another 13, went into the studio again, put those 13, 14 together. We usually just go into the studio to do drums and take it home and do the guitars and vocals. Studios are pretty expensive. So that was LA, then we went to Santa Cruz and did a bunch there. As far as the process evolving, not really. Hopefully we’ve gotten better at recording a little bit. Really, you’re just hoping to write a good song.

You guys experienced a more methodical rise to notoriety, the opposite of Internet where seemingly anyone can pop overnight. How do you feel the Internet has affected music?
It’s a little bit of a confusing mess. On the one hand, there’s a lot you can discover for free or not free, whatever, it’s all open. The reality is, as much as people say they love music, that version of love is very different from person to person. There’s a community thing about it too. Like when somebody says “I love this,” you think “oh, I love it too,” or “I don’t.”  When you’re looking at it from the perspective of fame, it’s great because that’s gone, and that’s a good thing to me. That’s where music, rock n’ roll or whatever, lost its point and credibility a long time ago. Now that that’s not there I think it’s a great thing, and the Internet has kind of made it that. There’s no latching on to one thing anymore.

Do you think rock is being created or appreciated anymore, now that rap and electronic are so dominant? Or is rock always going to be created because it can really only be defined as rebellion?
I don’t think it’s going to go away. I think it’s been a worry for a long time that it’s going to go away, or the hope of a bunch of people that it’s going to die out. It’s not going anywhere. But the culture – there are going to be less and less people that give a shit about it maybe, but that all depends on how it’s presented, and how the band presents itself too. I really believe that there’s a reason why it’s kept in a particular place. I subscribe to the following: if you control the arts you control the people. Rebellion is just fucking thought to me. So anything that’s sparking that is not wanted. It’s not going to help with what those folks want. So it’s nice to have things all scatterbrained on the Internet. Keep things this and that. And keep people away from it. Keep people voting for the next American Idol or whatever the fuck, Dancing with the fucking Stars, The Voice, you know. It’s all there for a purpose and its purpose is fucked. You just have to be aware of it and not support it.

Just don’t get cable.
(Laughs) Yeah.

So what’s next?
We’ve got another four weeks of a US tour and we got offered some festivals over in Europe, five or six. Then after that, who knows. We could be gone in a week, then have to figure out what to do with life after that. 

Listen to Black Rebel Motorcycle Club’s music, & read more on Lindsay MaHarry here

‘It’s Important to Be Brutal’: Frightened Rabbit’s Self-Discovery

Since the beginning of February, Frightened Rabbit have been selling out venues across the pond and here in the States as they continue to tour behind Pedestrian Verse, the fourth full-length album from the Scottish bastion of indie rock. This wouldn’t be the biggest deal for the band—who are used to playing for packed rooms in cities big and small, both international and domestic—except the record in question marks a major creative departure for the five-piece, in that it’s the first body of work they’ve truly collaborated on in their history as a band. They also hit the road four days after Pedestrian Verse’s debut on February 1, which means that Frightened Rabbit got to know the anthemic grandiosity of their latest in a live setting along with everybody else, despite the hours they clocked in the studio and in practice before departing Glasgow on their latest trek.

“It took us a couple of weeks before we were particularly great at playing the songs,” says Scott Hutchison, Frightened Rabbit’s frontman and lead vocalist, hanging out before his (again, sold-out) show at Terminal 5 last night.

“We rehearsed like hell, but until you get out and play the new songs live, you might as well be in the rehearsal room for a day. We noticed it at the start of the tour that the songs are settling in. I think one of the things we found challenging was that the producer, Leo Abrahams, brought a very important sense of subtlety to this album that was missing on other ones. The details are very much missed if they’re not included, so we spent a lot of time figuring out how to incorporate these details live. We’re totally dead against backing tracks, so we tried to do a raw energy version of some of the songs, and it just sounded like a shitty version of that song. He brought such a subtlety to the arrangements that we had to really look at how we were going to include these details. The United States got the best end of the tour, definitely!”

Though the accolades they’ve raked in indicate otherwise (the tour’s been good since the get-go), Pedestrian Verse has, after months of relentless touring, begun to feel like the songs Frightened Rabbit should’ve been singing all along. Before, Hutchison would “lock [himself] away and not welcome any of the band into that process” when it came to arrangements and lyrics. With Pedestrian Verse, that artistic autonomy ceased, as each of Frightened Rabbit’s members contributed to the fabric of every verse and breakdown.

“This time around, it was an open kind of door,” says Hutchison. “I was like, ‘I’m going to be here in the rehearsal space every day, I’m going to be working on stuff as I always do, and you can come and go as you please.’ That was the start of a new process with us, because we never worked that way before, collaboratively. I just put records together myself. So that process was new—it was brand new—and we felt reinvigorated. The first couple of weeks, we were still finding our feet, not really sure how this was going to work. I’m still getting used to letting go of that kind of control, that kind of thing. When we did hit our stride, it was great. Thereafter, we realized that this is how we want to do it. Perhaps I’d come to a saturation point where I was getting bored with my own way of working and I needed something to refresh it, and that’s what really happened with this record. For me, I can hear it all over it. It’s got more energy. It’s bigger. It’s brighter. It’s just more exciting.”

“Late March, Death March” is perhaps one of the best examples of this newly defined collaborative effort, as the song was written and recorded with all five members of the band having a staring contest between them as they battered drums in a circle. “We were very aware that we wanted this to be in every sense a band record,” says Hutchison. “We’ve never performed as a five-piece in the studio before. It’s always been like, ‘Let’s do the drums and work up from there.’ Here, it’s the five of us playing drums round with a microphone in the middle. That just brings something you can’t get from layering, you know? That integral energy on ‘Late March, Death March’ comes from us just making eye contact—and not all of us are great drummers, either. It’s got sort of ragged parts that added to it. That was probably the only song on the album that was written in the traditional me, on my own, in a room kind of thing. The performance itself it very much comes from the five of us together.”

For Hutchison, it’s the final track on the album, “Oil Slick,” that serves as a defining moment for him, in that the song is one where all five members can be heard—even if that’s not so obvious to the listener on the first go around. The telltale traits of a Frightened Rabbit song—insatiable hooks, a rhythm that works for introspective vibing, the grandest love song you’ve ever heard in a live setting simultaneously, a chorus that’ll lift you up into the ether of euphoria or speak to your despair depending on your mood—are there, but this is the song of a new Frightened Rabbit, the one Hutchison is thrilled to continue with through the rest of this tour and onto the next record.

“It’s a song that’s all of us,” he says. “It’s a song that’s got space, and everyone’s characters within it. I guess only we can hear that. It encapsulates what we were trying to do with this record, in that it has both a kind of intimacy and a series of massive, big endings. This album kind of draws you in and out of being close with us, and then it casts you out into the crowd of an arena. This album’s supposed to pull you around. For me, is the jump-off for the next record is ‘Oil Slick.’ We take it from there and see where we go from that.”

Where that is exactly has yet to be seen, as the guys don’t write on the road and their fans haven’t gotten enough of Pedestrian Verse yet. They haven’t, either, and they shouldn’t, as this record is a steadfast, undeniable feat of collaborative prowess that marks a shift in the maturity and depth of a rock band that wants nothing more than to do right by the music they make. This record may have been a revelation for Hutchison, one that paved the way to self-discovery through collaboration, but it’s clear that the level to which he pushed himself creatively won’t be absent from future Frightened Rabbit efforts.

“I looked back on our catalog and tried to be as critical as I could with it, and say what was wrong,” he says. “I realized through touring that I was spending an hour and a half every night singing songs that were entirely about myself. That starts to sound and feel indulgent after a while. Though there are moments on this record that are definitely about my life, I was very much aware that I wanted to try and externalize that and look less inward. There are songs like ‘Acts Of Man’ and ‘State Hospital’ where I was consciously trying to push myself into writing about other peoples’ lives, just to see if I could. That was part of the challenge of that record, trying to consciously move away from some of the traps and easy tricks I’ve learned over the course of the past six or seven years. This time around, everything was up for questioning. Everything was like a forum, and nothing was precious. For that reason, we were much more brutal in the decision making process with this one, rather than me indulging myself completely. It was a process of self-criticism from start to finish… This time around I didn’t censor it. It’s risky, but it’s important to be brutal. You serve the album in a song, and it can’t be a personal argument. It has to be objective. I don’t mind being raw. I think it’s what our audience has come to expect and love.”

Follow Hilary Hughes on Twitter.

Upcoming Hurricane Sandy Benefits Shows From Aziz Ansari, Neil Young, Grizzly Bear, and More

If you still want to help out East Coasters affected by Hurricane Sandy and do so in an environment with adult beverages and high-caliber entertainment, this week, a couple more enticing Sandy benefits have been announced. So if you’re looking for something to do next week and live in the greater New York, Atlantic City, or Los Angeles areas, here you go.

Neil Young and Crazy Horse will perform in Atlantic City on December 6th at the Borgata Hotel Casino & Spa, with proceeds going to the Red Cross.

On December 10th, a group of comedians you might recognize are getting together for “We Hate Hurricanes,” a night of comedy to benefit the victims of Hurricane Sandy at L.A.’s Nokia Theater. The venerable Jon Hamm is emceeing the event, with headliners Aziz Ansari, Will Ferrell, Sarah Silverman, and music from Beck along with even more acts. All proceeds from the show will go to AmeriCares, and pre-sale tickets go on sale today; general sale starts tomorrow.

One of the biggest announced shows is the 12/12/12 benefit gig for the Robin Hood Relief Fund, on December 12th at Madison Square Garden. The headliners play like an all-star Super Bowl halftime show: Kanye West, Alicia Keys, Paul McCartney, Bon Jovi, Billy Joel, The Who, Eddie Vedder, Dave Grohl, and, of course, Bruce Springsteen. If you still want to help out and rock out but the idea of a Bon Jovi show at the Garden sounds a bit too overwhelming, New York’s Terminal 5 is hosting a “4Artists1Cause” benefit on December 14th, featuring performances from Grizzly Bear, Sleigh Bells, Antlers, and Cults. More acts will be announced soon. Tickets are $40, with proceeds going to the Mayor’s Fund to Advance New York City

BlackBook Tracks #2: Songs From @Sweden

After Jens Lekman and Niki & the Dove came to New York this past weekend, we were inspired to round up some songs from our favorite Swedish artists. Settle down with a plate of internet uterus and some informational reading about Judaism and check out this week’s picks.

Jens Lekman – “Waiting For Kirsten”
No one tells a story like Jens Lekman, who’s equally adept at bringing laughter and tears. This song leans more toward the former, telling the now-notorious story of how the singer-songwriter once tried to meet Kirsten Dunst. Anticipation levels for his forthcoming heartbreak-centric album, I Know What Love Isn’t, are already running high.


Peter, Bjorn and John – “(Don’t Let Them) Cool Off”
It’s already too hot to come up with a remotely funny joke about the weather. All whistling aside, Peter, Bjorn and John’s 2011 album Gimme Some was highly underrated.


Noonie Bao – “Do You Still Care”
If you can look past the “white person experiencing exotic India” video, “Do You Still Care?” sees up-and-comer Noonie Bao delivering an extraordinary performance. Depending on what kind of emotional upheaval you’ve recently gone through, this song represents the stage either before or after “Somebody I Used To Know.”


We Are Serenades – “Birds”
Featuring members of Shout Out Louds and Laasko, We Are Serenades find strength in harmonies. Also, strings!


Miike Snow – “God Help This Divorce”
Cool down with this crisp track from Miike Snow’s latest, Happy To You.


Niki & The Dove – “DJ, Ease My Mind”
The electro-pop group sold out their Northside Festival show last Thursday, and the buzz is only going to continue to skyrocket by the time they return to the US this fall to tour with Twin Shadow. Dance with tears in your eyes!



Karin Park – “Restless”
Dark like the Knife, but easier to sing along with.


Icona Pop – “Nights Like This”
Icona Pop were already featured on last week’s playlist, but we can’t help it if the dance-pop duo makes infectious tunes. They’re also playing their first New York headlining show this Friday at Brooklyn’s Glasslands Gallery. If you didn’t get tickets in time, you can always see a different Swedish band that night.


The Hives – “Wait A Minute”
The Hives can always be relied on for a good time, and they’ll be tearing down Terminal 5 on Friday. After going five years since their previous album, they’re back with a vengeance on Lex Hives.


Robyn – “Dancing On My Own”
You didn’t think we were going to forget this, did you?

Bands You Should See in New York This Month

Here are our recommendations for May shows with a few videos for your perusal. 

TIMBER TIMBRE (opening for Feist)
May 5

Radio City Music Hall ($40)
Show: 8:00 p.m.

Feist fans will have the chance to discover Timber Timbre at Radio City Music Hall on Saturday, when the Canadian blues-folk band (who recently supported The Meat Puppets) takes the stage opening for the fellow Arts & Crafts-signed-singer-songwriter. Timber Timbre, composed of Taylor Kirk, Mika Posen and Simon Trottier, have been on the road since the release of their fourth record, Creep On Creepin’ On, in April of last year. Their atmospheric sound is dark, haunting and worth a listen.


SPIRITUALIZED (with Nikki Lane)
May 7

Terminal 5 ($30 Advanced/$35 Day of Show)
Doors: 7:00 p.m./Show: 8:00 p.m.

The Englishmen are back on tour following the April release of their seventh studio album Sweet Heart Sweet Lights. “I always shy away from anything I write that sounds like a pop song […] This time I’m embracing songs like that and seeing what happens. I’m not fighting it any more,” Spiritualized mastermind Jason Pierce told NME during the making the new record. Critics have praised the results, calling it the band’s best work since 1997’s acclaimed Ladies and Gentlemen We Are Floating in Space. You be the judge.


TY SEGALL AND WHITE FENCE (with The Strange Boys, The Men)
May 16

Webster Hall ($15 ADV/$17 DOS)
Doors: 7:30 p.m./Show: 8:30 p.m.

Don’t miss your chance to catch garage and psych rockers Ty Segall and White Fence (Tim Presley) when the Californians present their Drag City collaboration Hair, a brilliant 60s lo-fi psychedelic revival record that’s begging to be heard live. The LP features Presley on lead guitar and bass, while Segall plays drums and rhythm guitar.


THE DIG (w Taurus)
May 20

Glasslands Gallery ($10 ADV/$12 DOS)
Show: 8:30 p.m.

Brooklyn’s The Dig have all the elements of a power-pop band; they’re four guys – David Baldwin, Emile Mosseri, Erick Eiser and Mark Demiglio – on guitar, bass, keyboard and drums. Their new record Midnight Flowers comes out May 29th, following their catchy debut LP Electric Toys, released in 2010. Give them a listen and check them out, so you can say you “saw them back when they played Glasslands.”


THAT DOG. (with Kurt Braunohler, Baron Vaughn)
May 25

Music Hall of Williamsburg ($20 ADV/$25 DOS)
Doors: 8:00 p.m./Show: 9:00 p.m.

The L.A.-based punk-infused power-pop band known as “That Dog.” (Anna Waronker, Rachel Haden, Petra Haden and Tony Maxwell), who formed in 1991, dispersed in 1997, only to reunite in 2011, are playing their first NYC shows in 15 years on May 24th and 25th at the Music Hall of Williamsburg. As expected, their first show sold out, but wait – there are still tickets available for the second night.

The Shins Rock Three Nights at Terminal 5

This past Sunday night at New York’s Terminal 5, Shins frontman James Mercer was supported by the band’s newest lineup – composed of Jessica Dobson on guitar, Yuuki Matthews on bass, Joe Plummer on drums and Richard Swift on keyboards.

It was the first of three consecutive nights in front of a sold-out crowd. The young audience roared with approval as Mercer opened the set with “Caring is Creepy,” the first track off the 2001 debut Oh, Inverted World.  Here he was a decade later, hitting all the notes, fresh off the recent release of highly anticipated fourth LP Port of Morrow.

Next came “Mine’s Not A High Horse,” off 2003’s critically acclaimed sophomore effort Chutes Too Narrow, followed by “Simple Song,” the gorgeous first single off the new record, the first in five years, following Wincing the Night Away (2007).

Port of Morrow has been well received by critics. Pitchfork, who gave it an 8.4/10, called the LP “a triumphant return” and “the perfect distillation of the Shins’ back catalog—the jangly, wistful airs of Oh, Inverted World, Chutes Too Narrow‘s genre-resistant playfulness, Wincing the Night Away‘s expansively detailed production. But in other ways, its colorful, detail-oriented approach sets it apart from anything Mercer’s done before.”

The band knew their strengths, playing a range of crowd-pleasers, including “So Says I” and “Sleeping Lessons,” with the wide-eyed audience singing along passionately, lingering to Mercer’s every word and savoring every line. They shouted restlessly for an encore, and when the singer returned, he was alone, guitar in hand, ready to perform “September” (off Port of Morrow). In unison, the crowd spontaneously began to chant the background “oohs” as Mercer sang: “Under our softly burning lamp/ She takes her time/ Telling stories of our possible lives/ And love is the ink in the well when her body writes.”

The lights brightened as the full band returned on stage for the popular “Kissing the Lipless.” And soon, the show would end the way it began—a return to an oldie from the first LP, the last song of the night, “One By One All Day.”

Set list:
Caring is Creepy
Mine’s Not A High Horse
Simple Song
Bait and Switch
Phantom Limb
Rifle’s Spiral
St. Simon
No Way Down
So Says I
It’s Only Life
40 Mark Strasse
New Slang
Port of Morrow
Sleeping Lessons

Kissing The Lipless
One By One All Day

Photo by Natasha Ryan

4 Out of 5: Colleen Nika on New York

Colleen Nika is editor of Rolling Stone’s Thread Count, a daily column that explores the intersections of music and fashion culture. She is also DJ for and curator of Nightvision, a nonconformist and forward-leaning music editorial, radio, and live music platform kicking off in full effect in 2012.This is her take on four places she likes, and one place she doesn’t.


Hotoveli – "The coolest avant-garde boutique in NYC, tucked away on a leafy street in my old neighborhood. They fit my off-duty assassin aesthetic pretty well, carrying rare Westwood, Owens, Comme Des Garcons, Ilaria Nistri, and some rarer import labels. They always have something amazing locked away behind glass, too. I DJed a cool Fashion Week party here last September. The boutique’s co-proprietor, Cody Ross, who also runs the label Priestess NYC, is truly one of my favorite people in the city."

Mela Foundation’s Dream House – "I like to listen to a lot of drone and ambient music these days, which can either evoke feelings of unease or placate them. I feel like a lot of people are on that wavelength right now, so it’s auspicious for us that an actual drone zone exists in NYC. La Monte Young (who Brian Eno hailed as ‘the daddy of’ all studied ambient sounds) once conceived of a Dream House — a place you could go just to experience sound and light in their purest forms. With the Mela Foundation’s help, he did just that. It’s nice to know that in our crumbling and austere times, such a specialized little universe can still exist, and right in the heart of Tribeca. Young still performs here on Saturdays."

Obscura Antiques & Oddities –  "I love this place because it means the oddest and most macabre artifacts Manhattan has to offer can be found five minutes from my door. Their specialty: decaying curiosa. This can mean something like a weird chess set or creepy dolls they find at an estate sale to something more sinister, like memento mori or a Tibetan death skull. They often partner with The Observatory, another favorite NYC anomaly, which is a morbid workshop, lecture space, and reading room based in a corner of a library in Gowanus. They had a mummified cat I considered buying before it became the talking point of a related TV series The Science Channel produces."

Myers of Keswick – "For all my favorite British Imports. I grew up under a strong British influence, and I’m still very connected to the culture, which means I sometimes crave its more savory goods. You can’t beat buying this stuff in the motherland (I plan to do most of my Christmas shopping in London), but when I’m in NYC, I buy all my British teas, biscuits, preserves, crisps, candies, and curry here. And not only food and drink — they even carry Fairy liquid and Lemsips and other household goods. Plus, it’s only blocks from Tea & Sympathy and A Salt & Battery, a whole little domain they were aiming to dub ‘Little Britain’. It hasn’t happened yet, but we hold out hope."


Terminal 5 – "Full disclosure: I got punched in the face at a Hives show in 2008 here, and it’s been on my shitlist ever since. But because of the way the Bowery Presents chain of command works, every moderately successful commercial act plays this venue, which is a shame because it’s awful. The sound is horrendous, the location makes the hike over almost not worth whatever fun the experience may otherwise offer, and its ambiance is zero. I still prefer Roseland Ballroom, or better yet, the more elegant Hammerstein Ballroom, for a more satisfying mid-scale concert experience."