Tag Archives: The Peak

Holding Steady at Six Years

A lunar module model - this one made by NASA

If I remember correctly, my sixth birthday was “lunar module” themed. In our unfinished basement, we laid down masking tape on the cement floor to create tracks for the rover races. On the walls were cutouts of the lunar lander, and everyone left the party with some freeze-dried ice cream.

Now, as a chunky six-year-old, I thought this party was the coolest thing ever. Little did I know that some people bring in rock bands for their sixth birthday parties.

That’s right – it’s the big oh-six for 107.1 The Peak, WXPK, coming your way in the first week of April. And to celebrate, they’re bringing in the bold Brooklyn band The Hold Steady.

The Hold Steady - From left to right: Tad Kubler, Galen Polivka, Bobby Drake, Franz Nicolay (who recently quit the band), and Craig Finn

Headed up by Craig Finn, a guy that looks like he could be the the embodiment of nerd-rock, the band actually has a hard-hitting, gritty sound. Here’s their video for “Chips Ahoy” – have you ever seen a rock star more convincingly wear George Costanza glasses?

They’re also renowned for its ability to tell a story, thanks in large part to Finn’s intricate, weaving lyrics. You may recognize their lexical prowess from “Sequestered in Memphis” which has received a lot of air time on the Peak. The band ties many of their songs to characters from history and literature – like Sal Paradise from Jack Kerouac’s On The Road, or the american writer Nelson Algren. Their nods to pop culture references are even better. For instance, in “Knuckles” of off The Hold Steady’s first studio album in 2004, Finn sings, “I’ve been trying to get people to call me Sunny D/I’ve got the good stuff kids go for”. Here’s the bad in a more traditional rock band role than the last video:

The Hold Steady has been holding steady for almost seven years now – with four LP’s out, and another one on its way this May.

Craig Finn and Tad Kubler, the lead guitarist, have been playing together for a long time. In 1994, they formed half of the band Lifter Puller. Listening back, you can hear a lot of similar styles and stories in the Lifter Puller songs, and you can connect the lines from the nineties to the aughts to see the evolution of The Hold Steady.

Here are two songs from the Lifter Puller days:

“Secret Santa Cruz”

“4dix”

The new Hold Steady album, Heaven is Whenever, is out May 4th, and with the Peak Birthday Concert on April 2nd, you’re bound to get a sneak preview. So head on over to 1071thepeak.com to grab your tickets to the show. As an added bonus, The Oranges Band, formed by the former bassist of Spoon, Roman Kuebler, will be opening the show.

And it’s all happening just down the road (or up the Hudson line) in Ardsley. Hope you can make it!

~Josh

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Concerts This Week in NY’s Back Yard:

::: Catch the Allman Brothers five times this week at the United Palace tonight, tomorrow, Thursday, Friday and Saturday.

::: Portugal. The Man is going to be putting on a great show this Friday at the HighLine Ballroom in the city

::: and Rhett Miller will be playing at City Winery on Saturday the 20th.

Happy Hunting!

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PEAK KEYWORD: HOLDSTEADY

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Concert Watch October 2009

Mr. Bob Weir

Mr. Bob Weir

Ok, I’ll grant you that there are a rip-roaring ten days left in the month of October… BUT that is not an excuse for you not to go out a catch some great live performances in New York’s backyard.

For instance,  Bob Weir and RatDog will be finishing up their five show set at the Beacon Theatre. They’ve performing apart from the Grateful Dead for coming on fifteen years now and they’re still going strong. They’re playing this Thursday, Friday, and Saturday all tickets just under 40 bucks. There’s no better place to hear live Dead tunes.

And Van is coming through town! Van Morrison will be playing at Madison Square Garden on the 26th. Just this year he released his fifth live album, Astral Weeks Live at the Hollywood Bowl, which was recorded during two concerts out at the Hollywood Bowl in L.A. The concerts took place forty years after the release of the original album, and this live edition was claimed to be one of the top 5 most anticipated pop events of 2009.

Van Morrison

Van Morrison

But there’s something else that everyone is talking about. Something so jam-packed with big names that, in fact, they’re buttressing the venue for the bringing down of the house that’s sure to come. We’re talking about the Rock n’ Roll Hall of Fame celebrating its 25th anniversary. The performers include, in no particular order (this might be a good time to sit down):

U2, Bruce Springsteen and the E Street Band, Simon and Garfunkel, Metallica, Paul Simon, Aretha Franklin, Stevie Wonder, Crosby, Stills, Nash & Friends and Eric Clapton.

And if that’s not enough, they’re not all coming together for one measly concert, but two nights of Rock ‘n’ Roll legendry. Catch Simon and Garfunkel, Steview Wonder, Crosby, Stills and Nash, and the Boss on October 29th, and then come back from U2, Aretha, Clapton, and Metallica on the 30th. The Hall of Fame is touting it to be a “once in a lifetime” experience, and I have no doubt that it is going to live up to it’s name.

The BossStevie WonderSimon and Garfunkelhero_csnU2Eric Clapton

But let’s not let the big names outshine some smaller, less known, but equally talented individuals. For instance, Mike Doughty will be coming through New York. As you may know, Doughty performed last year at The Peak’s 5th birthday party and is a great friend of the station. He’ll be at Le Poisson Rouge in the city on the 31st. And last but not least, let us not forget Tegan and Sara, the artsy identical twin sister duo from Alberta, Canada. They’re playing a sold out show at Town Hall, which should be featuring some tracks from their new album, Sainthood, which wasn’t due to come out until the 27th. Fortunately, due to the magic of the internet it was leaked out ten days early.

So you see? A lot can happen in ten days. Especially in New York’s backyard. So get out there!

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PEAK KEYWORD: RED ZONE

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“More People at Giants Stadium for U2 Than Even the Pope”

U2 sold-out all 80,000 seats in Giants Stadium  

U2 sold-out all 84,400 seats in Giants Stadium both nights.

…Says the New York Times. Our favorite weird-sunglasses wearer has done it again – playing an awesome, packed show last weekend in New York’s backyard for our listening pleasure. It was so packed, in fact, that travelers on New Jersey transit experienced heavy delays on either end of the show. One irate fan spent 5 hours getting there and another three getting home (albeit from Babylon, NY).

Playing on Bruce Springsteen’s 60th birthday, U2 appealed to fans with a cover of “She’s the One”.

Both U2 and Muse, who opened up the show, are coming off of new albums – Muse just released their symphonic-rock “Resistance” on September 9th, and U2 had released “No Line on the Horizon” earlier this year.

But album promotion is hardly the reason for these tours. In Rolling Stone Bono says “we’re having [laughs] more fun than anyone should be allowed.” Which seems to apply to the audience as well. Chris Hermann was at the show with Rob Arrow and had the following to say:

I thought the show was terrific on Thursday Night.  Muse was a little loud but held their own and warmed up the place. The drummer rocked.

I’ve seen every U2 tour since “Unforgettable Fire.”  They somehow manage to raise the bar each time out – and that’s saying something.  For as imposing as the set was, they still managed to be intimate in a record crowd of 84,400 and change.    From the “Space Oddity” open, the show rocked.  Adam Clayton is my hero!  Steady, brilliant – the thing would fall apart without him.  The core of it – Adam, Larry and Mr. The Edge are nothing short of grand masters.  Bono sounded maybe a little thin but cast his enigmatic shadow long all night.  I loved the set list – especially “The Unforgettable Fire,” “Until The End Of The World” and the acoustic and spellbinding “Stay (Faraway So Close)”.  The big moments – “Elevation,” “Sunday Bloody Sunday,” “Still Haven’t Found What I’m Looking For” etc. all lifted Giants stadium off its old foundation and I drove back across the GW towards Connecticut afterwards with that stupid grin I always get after a U2 show. Nice.”

And he’s got reason for that grin – Chris got to hang out with Bono. I don’t know how he could pry his eyes off the man for this photo

Chris with Bono

Chris with Bono

You can almost touch him

Jonathan meets U2

And there’s more! Jonathan Langsam went to the show courtesy of the peak, and had a great time in the red zone right around the stage. Just goes to show that there are always great reasons to listen to some World Class Rock. Here’s a snapshot of Jonathan’s night ->

U2 finished the show on the 24th with “Moments of Surrender” which is the third cut off of “No Line”. It was a tender moment – especially those who were worried about transit on the way home. Just another reason we love New Jersey.

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Where in the World is David Byrne? [Part 2]

In the last post, I said that Byrne has a way of incorporating the world around him into his own work. And he doesn’t do it small, quiet ways. Take for examples his Playing the Building series which started in Stockholm, Sweden in 2005. Byrne describes the series as follows:

"Playing the Building" at the Roundhouse in London

"Playing the Building" at the Roundhouse in London

“Playing the Building is a sound installation in which the infrastructure, the physical plant of the building, is converted into a giant musical instrument. Devices are attached to the building structure — to the metal beams and pillars, the heating pipes, the water pipes — and are used to make these things produce sound. The activations are of three types: wind, vibration, striking. The devices do not produce sound themselves, but they cause the building elements to vibrate, resonate and oscillate so that the building itself becomes a very large musical instrument.”

Musical may not be the best word to base your expectations off of but it is very large. In 2008 Byrne re-envisioned the installation a the Battery Maritime Building in New York City, and he has just put the finishing touches on the installation at the Roundhouse in London (see above).

These installations produce some fantastic sounds. For example, listen to Robert Gomez’s haunting “Hunting Song” which uses samples taken from the installation in New York.

David Byrne and company on office chairs

David Byrne and company on office chairs

In the meantime David Byrne is finding new ways to occupy his minimal free time between shuttling back and forth across the pond to work on Playing the Building while touring for his new album Everything That Happens Happens Today, which includes dances choreographed on office chairs.

He has also been heavily involved in the developing indie music scene. His record label Luaka Bop signed Os Mutantes in 2006, a band that was originally formed in 1966, but shut down after 12 years and has now found new legs [download their latest single “Teclar” here].

He has also collaborated recently with The Brighton Port Authority (BPA), Fatboy Slim’s side project that just released their first album I Think We’re Going to Need a Bigger Boat (2008). Byrne sings on the song “Toe Jam” also featuring Dizzee Rascal, which is definitely a heavenly pairing. The video for the song, which you can find in the “This Week” section has plenty of nudity – but it’s still kid-friendly due to jolly black bars that dance around the screen with the music. Check it out!

A still from the "Toe Jam" video

A still from the "Toe Jam" video

And, perhaps most surprisingly, David Byrne has lent his voice to North America South America (better known as N.A.S.A.) for two songs, “Money” and “The People Tree” for their record The Spirit of Apollo which was released in February of this year. With these songs, it seems that N.A.S.A. has brought out Byrne’s subversive nature once again – something that can be better explained by watching the music videos found in the “This Week” page.

"Bicycle Diaries" by David Byrne

"Bicycle Diaries" by David Byrne

David Byrne is looking as fit as ever and he’s not slowing down. He  just released a book called Bicycle Diaries that chronicles his travels and thoughts while biking and designed a series of funky bike racks for NYC. He also had a full-length article in Wired magazine last year about the ins and outs of the music industry. It’s really fascinating and has lots of interesting clips of Byrne talking with people from the industry including Brian Eno. While you’re there, look for his interview with Radiohead’s Thom Yorke from the same issue. And if you have the desire to stalk him even more like a psycho killer you can follow his day-to-day activities in his online journal. Happy hunting!

Oh, and one last thing:

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Chapter 1: A Celebration of Music

You Listening to Great Music

You Listening to Great Music

Dear New Readers,

An introduction is in order. My name is Josh Brechner. I am an Intern for 107.1 The Peak, WXPK located  in North White Plains, NY. I’m 19 years old and have had a passionate, head-over-heels relationship with music ever since I was ten and my dad gave me an album, Tommy,  by this band called The Who.

But enough about me. As you may have noticed, The Peak has an entirely new website! You can find it at: www.1071thepeak.com. That’s exciting enough in itself, but it only gets better from there. You, the listener, are being treated to an entirely new Peak experience, as we present Josh the Intern’s Blog – hosted by yours truly. This blog will be an outlet for all of the things we love about the station, but that didn’t make it on the air. We’ll talk about bands, concerts, records and what kind of music makes us want to stand up in our office chairs or out our sun roofs and start grooving (see above).

Now kick back , relax, and enjoy the show. Check back for new posts early and often. Also, expect to see contributions from our On-Air talent, personalities like Jimmy Fink, Chris Herrmann, and Rob Arrow. There are plenty of great reasons to check out this blog. And of course, we want to hear from you! Feel free to leave us some comments or even suggestions for what you think would make a great article for the blog.

And don’t forget to check out all of the new features on the improved website. Happy reading and even happier listening!

Best,
~Josh Brechner

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