Archive for the ‘BKI Music’ Category

Nick Waterhouse’s Retro Storms NYC

Sunday, May 27th, 2012

Nick Waterhouse’s sold out show at the Mercury Lounge last Saturday night was a preview of what we hope the impending summer will be like: a carefree romp full of bopping, shaking and pure fun. Waterhouse demonstrated a perfect combination of vocal emotion and guitar-strumming control, all while leading a nine-piece band consisting of two saxophonists, two backup singers, a drummer, a bass player and a keyboardist, each one talented enough to envy in their own right.  The eclectic crowd was a testament to his appeal, from the Brooklyn nerds reveling in the chance to pay sartorial homage to ’50s retro fashion to too cool for school college kids to a large group of older German tourists who seemed to travel to New York just to see Waterhouse play. The best part of the show was standing in a room full of HAPPINESS and witnessing the palpable giddiness of the performers’ realization of playing their first New York show to a crowd of fans who shimmied and cheered the whole way through.

Nick Waterhouse’s debut album, Times All Gone, has come out just in time for the summer, perfect for rooftop parties, clambakes and other summer activities in which having fun is the main objective.  You can listen to his live bootleg Berlin show here.  

And for more music in the same vein, here’s a fun R&B artists mix he made available for download.

Guest Bloggers Frontier Psychiatrist Guide Us Through the SXSW Mayhem

Thursday, March 15th, 2012

Taco truck in Austin

My first full day of music at South by Southwest began in a bike shop and ended in a church. From noon until three in the morning, three friends and I saw nearly 20 bands: indie rock and punk, blues and folk, glam and R&B, and a bit of hip-hop courtesy of A$AP Rocky. As I learned during my first time at the festival, SXSW is organized chaos, with thousands of people thronged in the streets all day and all night, lined up outside and packed inside bars and clubs to see some 2,000 bands play countless “official” and “unofficial” shows, categories that are somewhat fluid since most bands play both kinds of shows. It’s hard to imagine a place with more music per square inch or square mile, all within walking distance or a short bike ride. For any music maniac – especially one who loves tacos — SXSW is paradise.

The day began at  Mellow Johnny’s, a.k.a. Lance Armstrong’s massive warehouse of a bike shop, where we caught the last four songs of a set by Howler, part of a live broadcast by stellar Seattle station KEXP. Beneath a tricked out Bianchi Pista that hung over the stage, the skinny boys from Minneapolis plays good rowdy retro power-pop in the vein of The Strokes, Tokyo Police Club, and Surfer Blood.

Next we migrated to Waterloo Records, Austin’s iconic indie record shop slash tourist destination, where we caught a couple of bands and had free energy drinks which according to the can were a mixture of iced tea, lemonade, and bad ass. We were underwhelmed by the generic rock of London four-piece Tribes, then energized by the satirical glam rock and raucous energy of Foxy Shazam , who sound and act like a hybrid of Queen, The Darkness, and Spinal Tap, insofar as those three are different. Stage antics included keyboard surfing and smoking five cigarettes at once.

Energized by the neo-Freddy Mercury, we crossed town to the Red River District, one of the main drags of SXSW, where thousands of people were roaming the streets and enjoying free shows. The spacy R&B of Polica (pronounced POH-LISA) was the first and perhaps best show of the afternoon, led by the hypnotic voice and stage presence of Channy Moon Cassell, formely of Roma di Luna and now the lead female singer in Gayngs. Backed by bass, and two drummers who inexplicably often played the same beat simultaneously. Afterward, as walked around Red River we heard what we thought was a band covering Titus Andronicus. It turned out to be Titus Andronicus, though we caught only their last song (“No Future Part 3”).

At a Paste Magazine showcase, we  caught a pair of female-fronted bands who performed beneath a gigantic mural of the country music pantheon: Willie Nelson, Johnny Cash, Reba McInytre, Kenny Rogers, etc. Led by vocalist Amber Papin, Brooklyn indie pop trio Hospitality brought some pleasant jangly songs from their debut album Friends of Friends, which came out in January. We were more impressed with husband and wife duo Tennis, whose first album Cape Dory was inspired by their seven month adventure on a sailboat, and last month released their second record, Young and Old, inspired by a W.B. Yeats poem. The live show–especially Alaina Moore’s vocals–makes their records seem tame by comparison.


After a brief break to bathe and refuel, we returned and made our first mistake of the night. We thought we were going to see Javelin. Instead, we went into the club next door by mistake, where we caught Fidlar who sounded like Warped Tour refugees, as confirmed later by their song “Wake Bake Skate.” We then entertained the delusion that we could get into the Fiona Apple, Sharon Van Etten and Andrew Bird showcase at Stubbs, Austin’s legendary BBQ joint. Then we saw the line. (Fortunately we have already seen Sharon Van Etten in Chicago and twice in New York).

For the rest of the night, we split into two groups. Assistant Editor Pete Lillis caught Zola Jesus, a.k.a Nika Rosa Danilova, the slow burn of Psychic Ills, and The Men about whom he will have much more to say later this week on Frontier Psychiatrist. The rest of us took a more mellow turn and headed to St. David’s Episcopal Church for three more mellow acts, each with a somewhat spiritual, if not exactly religious dimension. The star was Anais Mitchell, whose haunting baby voice of a drawl bounced through the pews as she sang songs from her new album Young Man in America and her 2010 breakout record Hadestown, a folk rock opera about the myth of Orpheus and Euridice. While Hadestown guest vocalist Justin Vernon did not make the show, Mitchell has more than enough talent on her own and her backing band – electric piano, bass, and a drummer who doubled on banjo—was perhaps the best musicianship of the day. Finally, we caught the bluesy set of alt-country singer songwriter Todd Snider. Perhaps only in Austin does a guy whose last album was called Agnostic Hymns & Stoner Fables play a gig in a church.

Amen. Bring on Day 2.

Frontier Psychiatrist is a Brooklyn-based blog about music, books, film, and food. For more coverage, check out their blog. Photos courtesy of Peter Lillis.

SXSW Music Festival Day One

Wednesday, March 14th, 2012

Spotted at SXSW, BKI’s 3D Robot graphic tee

Visitors to Austin’s annual music, film, and technology bender, otherwise known as South by Southwest were welcomed with a relatively rare occurance over the weekend – rain. But despite soggy badges, the Interactive Festival continued to build on its newfound reputation as the premier gathering event for unveiling new products, app launches, and for friendly and communal exchanges of ideas and technology trends. Al Gore, Sean Parker, Jimmy Fallon, Emily Shuman, and Adobe lent star power to this year’s panels that leaned heavily on cloud computing, social media, and blogging. This year also brought another new element to the festival – protest, with Stratfor CEO, George Friedman bearing the brunt of Occupy influenced demonstrations during his panel.

The film portion of the festival also continues to grow, trailing only Sundance now as the place to premier new movies in the states. This year’s crop of films showcased a number of great music related screenings, including Tchoupitoulas, a movie about a night in New Orleans, Soul of America, a great documentary about the late discovery of Brooklyn-based soul singer, Charles Bradley, and Shut Up and Play the Hits, which chronicles the final NYC stand of LCD Soundsystem, where the audience was reportedly dancing in the aisles and screaming when songs came on as if it were a live set.

Last night, we were fortunate to be able to attend a taping for an Austin City Limits episode featuring Alabama Shakes. The venue moved locations last year, from its original studio from 1976, to a more polished and larger venue downtown. Despite its larger seating capacity, the new theater retained the same intimate charm that has made the show a national treasure. On the previous night, the same stage was graced by a surprise free performance by Jay-Z, who seemed to enjoy the intimacy of a relatively small venue. Perhaps becoming a dad has changed Mr. Carter.

While everyone inevitably gets all aflutter over big celebrity showcases and the Instagram pics of Anthony Bourdain eating all over town, there are thousands of other artists and bands working hard all week to get their music out. En route to Austin, we met Adibisi Agoro, a young hip-hop artist under the stage name ‘Blax’, making his first trip to SXSW for a showcase via Bed-Stuy with just a few dollars to spare. Stories like his are what excites us the most about SXSW. And perhaps in a few years when Blax is onstage at Austin City Limits, we can say we once rode a Greyhound with him to SXSW back in the day.

Meet the DJ

Monday, February 6th, 2012

We’re thrilled to have L.A. native, and current NYC resident SOSUPERSAM DJ our Crash Into Spring event on Friday, February 10th at our Union Square location. She was gracious enough to talk with us about what she loves about her new adopted city and what she likes to jam out to when she’s at home.

When did music first start to interest you? Music has always been a huge part of my life since I can remember. I started dancing when I was three, playing the piano when I was five, and singing and doing musical theatre when I was 11. I evolved into a DJ in the last few years, and now I’m starting to get into music production. You truly start to understand music after you’ve experienced it in so many different ways.

You’re originally from Los Angeles. Why did you relocate to New York City, and what are your favorite things about living here? I’ve always loved New York, and made it a point to live here at some point in my life. I feel that the city speaks to my sensibilities and my pace. So when the opportunity presented itself to me, I took it, and I love it! Whereas LA is very spread out, I love how compact New York City is. Every neighborhood has a small town feel. You really get to know your corner deli, your UPS guy, your coffee shop. That’s rad.

You’ve DJ’ed both coasts – what other places have you played and where are your favorites?
I DJ’ed in Singapore last year, which was super awesome. There is an underground nu-disco and glitch hop scene I was pleased to discover. I always have a good time when I DJ in San Francisco, but it’s been awhile since I’ve been back there. I hope to DJ in SF again soon.

Your sets consists of an eclectic mix of 80′s, 90′s, dance, electronic, hip hop, indie, R&B, and soul. What’s your favorite genre to spin, and what do you listen to at home? My favorite genre to play is 90′s hip hop and R&B – it was such a great time in music. The R&B was so full of emotion back then – extremely happy, or extremely sad. There was nothing muted or understated about it.  At home, I’m usually listening to something mellow. I love the old soul greats, Al Green, Stevie Wonder, Prince, Otis Redding, Etta James. Adele, Amy Winehouse, M83, and James Blake are also in heavy rotation – really, really mellow at home.

What is your top 5 for 2011?
M83 – Hurry Up, We’re Dreaming
Jay-Z & Kanye West – Watch the Throne
Adele – 21
James Blake – James Blake
Childish Gambino – Camp

If you had a superpower, what would it be?
I want to be able to be in two places at once. Or even better to be able to live two lives at the same time.  But ONLY if I can wear a cape.

Besides music, how else do you Live, Work, Create?
I also do freelance fashion PR! And I’m learning how to cook.

DJ SoSuperSam will be spinning at our Crash Into Spring Fashion Event at BKI Union Square from 7-9:30pm on February 10th. To listen to some of her mixes, visit her website, or listen to the playlist she made for us on our Tumblr.

Mega Band Night Recap

Monday, January 9th, 2012

(Right: Tayisha Busay)

Last Friday night, our SoHo location packed in a full house for a night of music, merriment, dancing… and leotards. Hostess Zoe Wilder kicked off the evening, with the crowd already animated thanks to the free-flowing libations from our friends over at Sixpoint Craft Ales. By the time Tayisha Busay took the stage decked in eclectic garb, playing their unique brand of synth dance pop, the after work crowd were well into their weekend, dancing and singing along with the band.

(Left: Twitter contest winner Lisa Marie Phoenix with Zoe Wilder. Right: Jonathon Antoshka, Lauren Thomas, Lakesh Abreu)

Book Review: Just Kids, Patti Smith

Thursday, January 5th, 2012

Before I first listened to Patti Smith, I saw this album cover for the first time when I was 16, and was immediately enamored with her. I was amazed at how such a simple pose could evoke both power and elegance. It still remains one of the most anti-establishment images I’ve seen – unconventional beauty expressed in a graceful and defiant pose. Punk rock, through a patchwork of cuticles. Years later, after so many bands and fads get popular, then fade into obscurity, Patti Smith’s music still resonates, and sounds equally as urgent now as it did in the 70’s. And while I may be the last person on the L train to pick up a copy of Just Kids, reading her memoir is a great reminder that the passionate pursuit of art is a timeless endeavor.

Just Kids primarily chronicles the period of struggle before Patti Smith managed to achieve stardom. After just moving to Brooklyn, Smith has a couple of chance encounters with another struggling artist, Robert Mapplethorpe, and the two end up devoting their lives to creative pursuits and pushing each other to produce work. On a number of occasions, the starving artists are forced to choose between marshmallow cookies or buying art supplies. Despite bouts of hunger and at times, homelessness, Smith and Mapplethorpe are driven by a passionate devotion to the arts, the discipline to constantly produce, and studious examinations of contemporary and historical art/music/literature figures from Rimbaud to Warhol to Bob Dylan. Their struggles dispel the myth of the artist as inherent, creative geniuses, but instead presents the successful artist as a culmination of rigorous study and practice. Eventually, the two bohemians move from their humble apartment in Brooklyn at 45 Hall St. (one block over from Brooklyn Industries’ former offices), to the Chelsea Hotel, to a residency at CBGB’s on the Bowery, an area that was at the time littered with flaming trashcans, and a colorful cast of users, transvestites, and musicians, among others. But despite the uncertainty of success amongst the impoverished and societal castoffs decorating downtown, it’s difficult to ignore Smith and Mapplethorp’s palpable excitement from being on the cusp of a movement. It’s that feeling that still compels young people all around the world to move to New York City to this day. – Teddy, Multimedia and Graphic Designer

The National and Wye Oak at the Beacon Theater

Thursday, December 22nd, 2011

We made it up to the venerable Beacon Theater on the Upper West Side last Thursday to catch The National on their final set of shows after a year and half of touring in support of 2010’s release, High Violet, an album still on heavy rotation here in the office.  The venue’s impeccable acoustics were ideal for lead singer Matt Beringer’s unique brand of indie-croon, supplemented by a string quartet, a trio of horns, and at times, Jenn Wasner, from openers Wye Oak. For a band with humble beginnings playing small clubs, it was apparent that they were thrilled at the opportunity to fully realize their artistic vision in an exceptional venue. At one point, Beringer shared a story of the band trying to make it big during a 2002 South by Southwest show, only to all accidentally play different songs at the same time.

With a giant projection screen behind them playing videos of abstract designs, snowstorms and Night of the Living Dead, the band ran through most of High Violet, a couple of songs from their two previous releases, Boxer and Alligator, and the beautiful piano ballad, Exile Villify. At the end of the encore, the band put their instruments down and beckoned the crowd to join in on a hushed sing-along to the song Vanderlyle Cry Geeks. The National have always served as a pleasant reminder that when everything around you is so loud, a subtle murmur can be the most alluring song.


Wednesday, August 17th, 2011

Attention New York City area independent musicians and bands! Brooklyn Industries, SESAC, The MuseBox and Reverb Nation  have teamed up to present the NYC RISING Musician Scholarship Program. What does this mean? Five winning bands will receive a comprehensive prize package to help them make it big, including publicity and promotion services, a CMJ Showcase, a Brooklyn Industries store performance and much more. NYC bands can enter for a chance to win here.  But hurry! Entries are due August 24, 2011.

A panel of judges will assess all entries and choose 25 artists to compete in the finals, where fans and friends can vote for their favorites. Stay tuned for instructions on how you can vote for your favorite artist later this month! 


Thursday, July 29th, 2010

Many of you might remember our collaboration with the Young Lords during the 2008 holiday season. The former band (R.I.P) wore BKI, performed in our Union Square basement and graced the cover of our catalog. Luckily, a few of the talented members continued on with their music and are back as The Rassle. At our final summer INDIE NIGHTS tonight, we’ll hear just what The Rassle is made of. But before then, we’d like to share some of their answers to the questions we had to ask.

BKI:How is The Rassle different from the other bands you guys have been in?
ERIK: I think the approach is different. You learn over time what works and what doesn’t, what to do and what not to do.. rinse and repeat.

BKI: Besides Blair and Reed (being brothers and all) did you guys meet in New York, Texas, or somewhere in between?
BLAIR: Our old bands used to play shows together. That’s really how we met here in New York. I met Reed in Texas when we went to pick him up at the Adoption House. He was waaay cuter back then.

BKI:Do all of you take a stab at writing songs or is there one lyrical genius?
BLAIR: We probably work better together than the Miami Heat’s basketball geniuses will…

BKI:Any pre-show rituals?
ERIK: Kinda like the one that happens in Temple of Doom..

BLAIR:Or in Mark’s case he has One Bourbon, One Scotch and a beer… Then we do the pre-show ritual thing.

BKI:Do you have groupies? Would you like some?
BLAIR: Is that something we can sign up for on Facebook?

BKI: We stalked you on Twitter and Facebook. We’d definitely like to hear a song clearly influenced by Biggie Smalls. Should we hold our breath for tonight’s show?
ERIK: A lot of our influences are ones that you don’t hear in the songs..

BLAIR:Like Doritos. But you can hear them if you listen really close. We added some chip crunching sounds on “Born Free.”

ERIK:If you want to get back to one being a real lyrical genius… Biggie is clearly the man.

BLAIR: In other words – hold your breath till the remixes drop. I’ve heard some previews and the shit is hypnotizing.


Wednesday, July 28th, 2010

(Photo by Steve Staso)

Tomorrow marks our final summer INDIE NIGHTS with ABSOLUT Brooklyn. Although it doesn’t mark the end of our music events in the basement of our Union Square store, or the possibility of working with other Brooklyn-based brands or companies with Brooklyn-inspired products (like Brooklyn Salsa Co!) it does mean this summer is flying by. We’re in the last week of July and right in the middle of the hottest part of the season. To further heat up our store (and by that we mean figuratively) we’ve invited two fresh new bands to play tomorrow evening – Living Days and The Rassle. (More on The Rassle later). If you haven’t heard of Living Days we suggest you read on.

BKI: Did your music start in the typical basement scenario? How did you all get together?
LD: A couple of broken hearts met up with the desire to make an album they would have wanted to listen to when they were 15, depressed, bored and misunderstood. As an experiment, they began to consider the notion that the universe was a benevolent one and the rest of the members showed up with a few beers and funny knock knock jokes.

BKI: What’s the back story on your name? Who coined it?
LD: Stephonik was reading Jack Kerourac’s, “On the Road” for the second time. Page 56 I think had the word “living”. It was circled in pen from when she read it in high school. She closed her eyes, pointed her finger, made a wish and turned the page. Her finger landed on the word “days”. She said, “Aiiiiight!”

BKI:Has your band hit the road internationally yet? What would be your first stop?
LD: No, Living Days has not ventured outside of the US of A together yet but we have been talking about it and making plans. First stop: psychedelic airport time!

BKI:Ever done anything extremely radical at a live performance?
LD: Prolly.

BKI:Are there any rules that you all live by as a whole? On stage or off?
LD: Sure. Unspoken ones. We love each other and love tells us what to do. Oh wait, yeah, if we are late to rehearsal we are supposed to lick a dirty window but no has ever enforced it.

BKI: What are you wearing on Thursday?
LD: Smiles!