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Best of NYC #57: El Jezel

We continue our "Best of NYC Countdown", covering every day one of the artists that made our Year End Best of NYC list (a chart compiled by a jury comprised of local bloggers, music writers, promoters, record sotre personnel and DJs). Many of the bands in this list will play The Deli's Best of NYC Fest in Williamsburg in May (6 shows in 3 different venues between the 13 and the 15).

Not all power trios are fast paced and noisy: many El Jezel's songs take their time to build, through atmospheric instrumental intros, sparse sonic brushes of effected guitars and whispered vocals. The result is some kind of Post Rock that's ready to explode into memorable melodic and/or noisy, shoegazy openings . The project sparked when George and Dan randomly met at house parties in Massachusetts years back and discovered that they actually only lived a town away from each other. Both eventually linked up with Jessica about ten years ago, which led to playing open mic sessions in downtown Manhattan and ultimately the three formed a band. Recently performing along the East Coast, El Jezel brews bigger plans for its new EP, due to be released in the next few months. - Gina Alioto


Nathan Xander Update

Deep Elm Records recently released a massive 18-song free sampler called We Dream Alone. The digital album includes a track from Nathan Xander’s 2009 release The Fear called “Trial By Fire”. Nathan has since joined forces with Witchouse to form Nathan Xander & Witchouse. The above video also comes from The Fear and was released back in October.


Grand Lake releases video, album and opens for Ok Go

Last week, Grand Lake released the video for "Louise (I Live in A Fantasy)" from the fourth-coming album Blood Sea Dream which was co-produced by Jason kick of Maus Haus. This week, they announced they'll be opening for Ok Go at The Fillmore on May 26th. Things are heating up for the Oakland based band so catch an intimate acoustic set with them while you can this Friday, April 23rd at Mama Buzz.

Blood Sea Dream comes out next month off of the Hippies Are Dead label but you can listen to it now on Grand Lake's site.

-Nicole Leigh


An American Chinese Worth the Journey to North Star Bar April 22

Panic Pilgrim masterminds, a.k.a. An American Chinese, keep things fresh with peculiar pop and buzzing vocals. With an end in sight for the release of their long-awaited debut full length Utopian Tree in May (we’re still a little salty about their posting of a January release so let’s stay friends, OK :o), the beats and blips of “Chasing Rabbit” are enough to elicit toe-taps and the occasional handclap while hissing snare and vocals rise beneath feverish chords. An American Chinese is well versed in rockin’ out and keeping crowds screaming for more. Their tracks are infectiously dancey without sounding trite. With subtle hints of folk and punk, this local seven-piece deserve to be part of the next crop of locals to get snatched up by a quality indie label. Between the driving beat and megaphone vocals of “Indian Punk” and the melodic crash of “The Distaste of Dairy Frank,” they’re well worth the cover charge. Don’t be surprised when they show-up visiting bands Roman Candle and Roadside Graves! North Star Bar, 2639 Poplar St., 9pm, $10, 21+ myspace.com/anamericanchinese - Dianca Potts



Weekly Feature #202b: Keepaway - Live at Glasslands, April 30

The problem in coming to grips with success often involves the backlash to critical reaction, and Keepaway - exploding onto the Brooklyn scene this year after a 9/10 review from recurrent tastemaker Pitchfork – are no strangers to listener skepticism. But with songs comprising a central guitar, a hard-synth edge, and whirligig percussion, something lies beneath the surface of Keepaway that sets them apart: maybe it’s the narrative quality to their songs, or the darker aspect of their tunes that only gets hinted at, or it could have to do with the sheer exuberance the three possess. Whatever it is, the attention is deserved. - Read Dale W. Eisinger's interview with the band here.


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