NYC online music institution East Village Radio turns five this year, and after a day’s delay due to tropical storm Hanna, a party was had yesterday at the Seaport to celebrate. The fest went from afternoon ’til night, spanning two stages (one at Pier 17, the other at the newish art gallery @Seaport around the corner), although I was on hand primarily to catch the slate of bands bookended by Slumberland revivalists Vivian Girls and Crystal Stilts (with a couple BTWs in between).

Of the new blood: both Vivian Girls and the Stilts have earned slots in heavy rotation here for remarkable debut albums, although the buzz yesterday rang loudest for Crystal Stilts, who packed the @Seaport room to capacity. The echoing, moody garage stuff worked well in those confined quarters, Brad Hargett’s heavy-lidded ruminations recalling Ian Curtis in more than one way, the band bringing out glum post punk and the Shop Assistants (or, fill in the C86-era blank) in others. I liked the equally reverbed Vivian Girls, too, although their live show isn’t quite yet as essential as is their tuneful, J&MC pop/surf rocking record (their loss of Frankie — whose literally upstanding drum work helps drive Crystal Stilts full-time these days — is felt).

High Places were great as always. A hip-hop loving security guard as their set started to the tropical beat collage of “Vision’s The First…“: “If that girl starts rhyming I’ll cry.” She didn’t, at least not quite as he hoped, but security dude seemed pretty transfixed anyway. Dan Friel’s set also came at the indoor @Seaport space, and while his set up of three-octave Casio, Christmas lights, and effects-pedal-assortment likely struck casual passersby as quintessential Brooklyn bullshit, his work is far from it: Friel makes it happen live, triggering keyboard tones and twisting them into a melodic and hyperactive synth-based brew. (Besides, the guy kills it within the traditional instrumentation of his main gig with Parts & Labor.)

Also on the dancecard: The Daily Show correspondent John Oliver tooling on America and getting away with because he has a British accent and because he’s funny (also a bit on how the Olympics’ opening ceremonies proved there’s at least one great thing about human abuse violations: “Now we know what Cirque de Soleil would look like if only we could take a stick to their backs”), and KRS-One acting his part as the Teacher: still teaching. Sadly I missed Boris, but it wouldn’t have been the first time I saw the gong this year. Some pics, and some MP3s…







Here’s a download platter to catch you up on why we love these guys and girls:

If you are in the NYC area but missed the fest, there’s a chance to check in with the Crystla Stilts buzz, alongside a set from the ever great High Places, this Thursday night at Le Poisson Rouge (158 Bleecker) as part of the eMusic Selects series. Ticket info here.

Comments (5)
  1. Doug  |   Posted on Sep 8th, 2008 0

    KRS-One was great…before he started talking about “real hip hop” for half an hour. And Flying Locust was a pleasant surprise.

  2. jp  |   Posted on Sep 8th, 2008 0

    Flying Lotus was easily the high point of the day for me, and that’s saying a lot, cause there was a lot of sick music between both stages. seriously though, he was out of control. and when he and KRS were together… that was insane.

    also, Olof Arnolds was a definite highlight for the ten or so of us that were there.

  3. Antonio  |   Posted on Sep 9th, 2008 0

    John Motherfucking Oliver

  4. FedUp  |   Posted on Sep 9th, 2008 0

    Thanks for the KRS-One mp3. Oh wait, this is stereogum, who only views hip-hop as Kanye right and only concerns about Africa revolve around whether or not their free trade coffee from there vs. South America, while they listen to the great African American groups such as “Black Kids” (oh yeah, they went there) or the ivy league pop bands who like to riff on their afro-beat rhythms (how novel!) Relax a little bit — I realize this isn’t hiphopdx, nahright, or any of the other blogs you steal from for hip hop news, but you don’t have to try that hard, Whitiies. lose the whole argyle sweater thing while you’re at it.

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