Controller

London Plane bring their dark indie-pop to Berlin on 6.17

In their debut EP, "Room City," (released in January), five-piece Brooklyn band London Plane manages to mix a variety of styles, blending '80s alt-pop with the dreamy, synth driven atmospheres popular in today's indie-pop. The ghost of Blondie and Grace Jones can almost be heard in single "Parting Days", where the slightly dark arrangement complements the sophisticated and warm vocals of lead singer, CiCi James. London Plane will be performing on June 17th, at Berlin NYC, alongside fellow local artists Controller and Tyger. - Tafari Lemma

Synth-pop artist, Birch drops new single, plays Mercury Lounge 2/25

Brooklyn-based artist Birch's new single, "Pick Sides" arrives at an exceptionally divisive point in our country's history. While most people find themselves plagued with a robust outpouring of facebook fights focused on politics, social constructs, or the full gamut in between, Michelle Birsky--the synth-pop artist behind the musical project--turns her attention to the binary ways of thinking that create the false dichotomies that divide us. The single proves to be a bit more pop-minded than her previous releases, but the gravity of the subject blends seamlessly into her infectious melodies, and truly showcases her songwriting prowess. You can catch Birch live at the Mercury Lounge 2/25 alongside, Controller and Madeline Mondrala, but also click the play button to stream her below.-Olivia Sisinni

Controller celebrates release of "No Future" EP at Berlin on 11.09

On November 9, Controller, another band with a great live show we booked at CMJ 2015 (they actually packed Pianos that night), will be celebrating the release of their sophomore EP "No Future," which will gather singles released separately in 2015, including their best known tracks "Flame" and "Midnight Man." These two tracks illustrate the musical coordinates the band operates within, i.e. a dark sounding, tense rock sound with post punk influences, and a sunnier pop side that references radio friendly bands from the '90s like The New Radicals. Title-track "No Future," the latest single, errs on the darker side big time - needless to say we dig that - and it's probably their edgiest single to date, notwithstanding the signature pop explosion in the chorus. Thir show, originally scheduled at Elvis Guesthouse, will actually be at Berlin a few blocks down (yes, never heard of it!).

Zach's CMJ Day 2: The Glazzies, Bird Dog, Owel, Controller and Tesha

Wednesday night on the Lower East Side started with unabashed energy as Sag Harbor, New York-hailing duo The Glazzies performed its guitar-stormed tracks at Pianos' Upstairs Lounge. Along with drummer Dave Horn, whose Johnny Cash T-shirt added to the room's ominous yet warm aura, singer Peter Landi broke into tight songs that conveyed the passionate angst of Nirvana while burning the mirror-paneled stage with its own punk fire. Just across the street at Arlene's Grocery, New Jersey quintet Owel delivered a shinier but no less fiery sound, frontman Jay Sakong and his bandmates playing soaring, violin-girded cuts that recalled the grand-rock of Muse but glowed in a unique halo of ferocity and sonority. Fellow five-piece Controller (pictured, scheduled to play our Pianos indie show on Friday) took the bustling Arlene's next, jumping into pop-bubbled rock pieces that almost sounded like Bruce Springsteen beside a synth station. There was also something of '80s dance in these delightfully loud songs, as vividly seen in lead vocalist Jon Bellinger's elastic sways and swoons, the movements of a bashful master of ceremonies. Back at Pianos, the five mustached men of Los Angeles' Bird Dog brought things down to a somewhat calmer notch, their folk-inflected rock songs reaching particular beauty with gliding harmonies and topping the high-ceilinged hall with western sun. New York-via-Israel musician Tesha closed the evening a few blocks away at Fat Baby. Before a wall that had pictures of such hip-hop masters as Tupac, the computer-decked artist dipped into subtly moving fantasias of skipping beats and sputtering synths, almost holding time in a bewitchingly nocturnal instant and then releasing it back into the wee hours of the morning. - Zach Weg

Controller lands July residency at Pianos + readies EP release

In preparation for the release of their latest EP, the NYC-based band Controller is taking over with a residency at Pianos, all July long. Their self-described "melodic, high energy dance rock," puts an emphasis on the high energy. You'll be hard pressed not to dance along to their guitar-heavy rock anthems. The first singles from their upcoming EP deliver upbeat a mix of catchy melodies, gritty sound and punchy rhythm section; check out "Separator" - streaming - and "Flame." Expect their new EP at the end of the summer and be sure to catch them every Tuesday night at Pianos this month. - Sam O'Hara

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