Anna Von Hausswolff at Glasslands in July (more by Amanda Hatfield)
Browse our full NYC show calendar for all of tonight's shows. Here are some highlights...
Luscious Jackson, All Night Chemists, ADW Young @ Webster Hall
Funky '90s band -- and Beastie Boys pals -- Luscious Jackson are back in action with a new album, their first in 14 years. Expect Clinton-era classics like "Naked Eye" too.
Real Estate, Bare Mutants, Free Time, Turnip King @ Baby's All Right
Get a taste of Real Estate's new album tonight at this newish, smallish Williamsburg club. It's actually a great bill all-around, with Chicago's Bare Mutants (featuring members of Ponys and The 1900s), plus Australian ex-pats Free Time and locals Turnip King.
Cyndi Lauper, P!NK, Nelly Furtado, The Hives, Ingrid Michaelson, Matt & Kim, Big Freedia & more @ Beacon Theater
It's Cyndi Lauper's 'Home for the Holidays' show and since girls just wanna have fun, she's invited a huge variety of friends to join her including some pop stars, the always-energetic Hives, and the also always-energetic (but in a much different way) Big Freedia, plus Matt & Kim and many more.
Au Revoir Simone, Spires, Splashh, Grooms @ Brooklyn Night Bazaar
This weekend's Brooklyn Night Bazaar shows are curated by Kanine Records, who offer up a good bill tonight, with sythpop trio Au Revoir Simone, paisley janglers Spires, UK act Splashh (in shrunken form) and noisemakers Grooms.
Chuck Strangers, Fresh Daily (Beat Haus) @ Converse Rubber Tracks
Joey Bada$$ isn't the only talented member of the Pro Era crew. Chuck Strangers is a key member of the group too and you can catch him on his own at Converse Rubber Tracks tonight.
Ballroom, The Soupcans, The Estrogen Highs, Chat Logs, Melk Belly @ Death By Audio
Toronto's The Soupcans make speedy post-hardcore filled with all the anger, sarcasm, and weirdness you need. They're in NYC for two shows this weekend, both of which should get pretty intense. This is the second.
The Deer Tracks, Ice Choir, Late Guest at the Party @ Glasslands
Swedish electronic duo The Deer Tracks headline tonight's show, but we also like Ice Choir -- aka Pains drummer Kurt Feldman's band that owes most of its sound to Scritti Politti.
Rock Lottery @ Knitting Factory
Members of Quicksand, Afghan Whigs, DIIV, A Place to Bury Strangers, Dresden Dolls, Antibalas, Sannhet and more will be formed into new bands this morning where they'll then spend the day writing original material to perform tonight. All proceeds are for charity and is always a lot of fun.
Machinedrum (Vapor City Live), Om Unit, Nick Hook, Body Language (DJ set), Angelica Bess @ Music Hall of Williamsburg
Machinedrum is one half of Sepalcure, and also an excellent artist on his own. Tonight he celebrates his new Vapor City album with a very solid list of openers joining him.
Las Rosas, Grand Resort, Slowdance @ Radio Bushwick
Here's a good trio of bands, and a good reason to check out this new Bushwick music venue.
Revenge, Mausoleum, Engorge, Mutilation Rites @ Saint Vitus
Canadian war metal band Revenge descends upon NYC for a two-night stand at Saint Vitus this weekend. Local black metal band Mutilation Rites kick things off, and they're great too.
Moistboyz (feat. Dickie & Mickie Moist/Dean Ween), Gibby Haynes (DJ) @ Stage 48
Ween is done, but Dean Ween is continuing to provide weirdo rock with his band Moistboyz. And speaking of weirdo rock, Gibby Haynes of the Butthole Surfers is DJing, and something tells me if anyone is sure to turn a DJ set into something much more memorable, it's Gibby Haynes.
Spacehog, Sponge, Lionize, Trapper Schoepp & The Shades @ Marlin Room at Webster Hall
Glam rockers Spacehog and grunge rockers Sponge on the same bill -- is this 1997?
Lupe Fiasco @ The Wellmont Theatre
Lupe Fiasco plans to release his new album Tetsuo and Youth in early 2014 (so, in non-rap speak, basically whenever), but until then he'll be doing some shows, including four nights in the NYC-area this month. This is the first.
Anna von Hausswolff, Noveller @ The Mercury Lounge
Master of the church organ, AvH will bring her cathedral vibes -- and otherworldly voice -- to Mercury Lounge, her second NYC show this weekend with Noveller.
Goblin, Zombi @ Starland Ballroom
Italian prog legends Goblin finally went on their first North American tour earlier this year, but they've got more dates before the year ends, including tonight's NJ show and tomorrow's NYC show, both of which are with experimental duo Zombi.
Champagne Jerry w/ Ad-Rock @ Joe's Pub
Rapper/performance artist Champagne Jerry has ties to other Joe's Pub regulars like Bridget Everett and Carmine Covelli, and he'll playing one show a month there during the rollout process of his upcoming album. Tonight's show is also special because Beastie Boy Ad-Rock, who appears on CJ's recent single, will be in the house.
Pink Floyd Laser Spectacular @ The Capitol Theatre
Via LaserSpectular.com: "After 25 years of touring,Paramount's LaserSpectacular has become a cult classic, presenting the music of Pink Floyd, as you have never seen it before. Surrounded by 50,000 watts of concert quality sound, Pink Floyd's musical legacy continues as the band's concept music captures the imagination and carries listeners away on a mind-expanding journey driven by cutting-edge effects. Colorful lasers and lighting effects parallel the sonic journey as the senses are confronted with an array of glowing visual displays choreographed to the soundtrack during the 2-hour-and-20-minute show."
Deidre & The Dark @ The Gutter
Diedra just played MHOW last night with her band Savoir Adore, and tonight her solo project plays the back room at The Gutter.
For all of tonight's shows, and tomorrow's, check out our full NYC show calendar.
For laughs, check out the NYC Comedy calendar too.
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If you’re not into the waiting game, grab your size in the Crooked Tongues x Le Coq Sportif Flash early as this limited edition collaboration drops today!
Featuring the Le Coq Sportif Flash model, Crooked Tongues reworks this classic model with elements of the ’90s and nostalgic Polo Snow Beach jackets. What is essentially constructed of smooth suede, nubuck, and mesh materials, these kicks are complete with red 3M paneling, carbon fiber, colorful accents, and yes, a gum outsole.
Dropping today through select UK dealers and Crooked Tongues online, a stateside release will follow on December 12th. Stay tuned!
As quiet as its kept, it may actually be quiet for every other release this weekend as the Fox Brothers x Nike Sporstwear TZ Fall 2013 Collection has begun to make landfall in extremely limited quantities.
A Tier Zero release (something we don’t usually hear about in the US), this collection consists of a fine wool and lambskin made Nike Destroyer Jacket and a commemorative edition Nike Dunk High PRM and Nike Air Magma which both get dressed in Fox Brothers wool and tanned leather for a premium finish.
Gather your funds (literally) and pick up this limited edition collection from participating UK dealers like hanon now. Let’s just hope Nike Sportswear blesses us with a US release!
A cool $70,000 separates you and Eleven Ravens' Stealth table, a high-end foray into luxury ping pong tables. Inspired by the technologically-driven Nighthawk Stealth Bomber, the tables feature both carbon fiber and jet craft aluminum. Packaged in a sleek, blacked-out design, the table itself also features minimalist features such as a discrete storage drawer. Only five tables will be created, rounded off by a numbered designation and an autograph by designer Bernard Semerdjian.
Nike introduces a new commercial ahead of the season's coldest months dubbed "Winning in a Winter Wonderland." Several key athletic moments are set to a classic holiday jingle, with key appearances from "professional baseball player Robinson Cano, professional football player Justin Tuck, skier Julia Mancuso, snowboarder Scotty Lago, soccer stars Alex Morgan and Sydney Leroux, along with a cameo appearance from Ohio State football coach Urban Meyer."
The piece is a further push for Nike's Hyperwarm Performance Baselayer apparel to ensure athletes simply do not miss a beat when the mercury drops. The collection can be seen in further detail at Nike.com/Hyperwarm.
Hailing from Vancouver, Second Narrow injects elements of functionality into a foundation of classic-looking denim. Elevating an otherwise everyday garment, the brand has applied a water resistant coating across a range of three styles; including a tapered, slim straight, and curved seam iteration. Crafted in Japan with premium selvage denim, the result is manifested in a minimal and likable product that does away with unnecessary details. For those interested in supporting the emerging label, drop by their Kickstarter page to read more on the new venture.
Tokyo-based fashion designer Mihara Yasuhiro, well known for his partnership with Puma that began over 13 years ago and his eponymous menswear label MIHARAYASUHIRO, is riding off the recent success of his collaborative 2013 fall/winter collection with the athletic apparel mainstay. The apparel and footwear designer who made his start in 1994 has come leaps and bounds in applying his modernist style of design to sneakers and is responsible for one of Puma’s best selling Black Label collaborations. Constantly reaching out to the diverse street culture of Harajuku - a popular shopping and entertainment district in Tokyo - as a source of inspiration, Mihara is not one to shy away from eye-catching embellishments such as fur, studs and metallic objects in his innovative aesthetic. Moving on from his muted, monochromatic and distinctly urban approach seen in his earlier work, Mihara is constantly pushing the boundaries of his respective realm. In Mihara Yasuhiro's Essentials, the most obvious item that comes to light is the 6-year old custom vintage-style bicycle that Mihara travels to the studio on every day. Other notable items include practical pieces from his own MIHARAYASUHIRO imprint such as a waist pouch, pants strap, wallet and coin purse.
FB could look a lot more like TV soon. While Vine and Instagram Video are booming, you don’t see many people natively uploading videos to Facebook. But now Facebook is bringing auto-play for native videos to all users after testing the feature in September. And it’s just the beginning of a huge push to put Facebook in motion.
Previously, any video uploaded to Facebook directly or shared to the News Feed from Instagram would appear the same as YouTube videos — locked behind a play button. While the conscious decision to stop scrolling for, open the video player, wait for it to load, and watch might not seem like a big deal, it may have been too much of a time and effort investment for some. If people don’t watch videos, they don’t get likes and comments that encourage friends to upload more, and they might skip uploading them themselves.
But after spotting an auto-play video in my feed yesterday and asking Facebook, the company confirms the new format is now internationally rolled out to most iOS and Android users and will reach all of them soon. Facebook tells me it’s still testing this feature on desktop and doesn’t have schedule for when it will roll out there.
On mobile, auto-play gives natively uploaded Facebook videos and ones shared from Instagram an advantage: you don’t have to think about playing them, they play themselves. At first they’ll play in-line even as you scroll, but with no sound. If you tap them, they expand full-screen and the audio kicks in. Videos uploaded to third-party sites retain the old click-to-play-format.
I’ve found the new design to be quite pleasing. As I wrote when Facebook’s auto-play style was first unveiled, it feels a bit like the moving photos in the Harry Potter newspapers.
If you don’t want to watch, you can scroll by with little disruption. This isn’t Myspace, Vine, or Instagram where auto-play sound is suddenly going to bombard everyone around you. If you’re not sure if you want to watch, you get a little preview. Maybe the thumbnail was dull but motion shows the video is actually exciting. A little animated audio levels icon clues you in to there being sound to be heard, though. You can watch silently if you don’t have headphones or privacy, but if you want the full experience, you can tap and the video plays instantly without a loading delay.
To respect users who don’t want to burn data, Facebook has added a setting that lets you only auto-play videos if you’re on WiFi and not on cellular data. It’s found in your phone’s Facebook settings on iOS and the Facebook app’s settings on Android.Facebook With Commercials
When Facebook started testing auto-play, it was upfront about looking for ways to give the feature to marketers as well as users. It wrote “At first, this feature will be limited to videos posted by individuals, musicians, and bands. We’re doing this to make sure we create the best possible experience. Over time, we’ll continue to explore how to bring this to marketers in the future.” I would bet we’re going to hear some news about this soon, either just before or after the New Year.
Facebook recently starting letting developers put videos in their app install ads, but those don’t auto-play. Maybe they will eventually, though.
For advertisers, auto-play videos could make their ads a lot more noticeable. Most people wouldn’t volunteer to watch a video ad (cool movie trailers aside), but if it’s already playing and looks compelling, they might watch or even expand it to include sound too. Facebook is a fan of consistency, so video ads might have a very similar user experience to organic videos.
Because they’re more captivating, Facebook could potentially charge a lot to show video ads. Back in September, AdAge reported Facebook could charge between $1 million and $2.4 million to distribute a 15-second video ad for a day. Facebook raked in $2.02 billion in Q3 2013, and video ads could give that number a significant bump in Q1 and Q2 2014. Finally, we might start to see a landslide of ad spend previously devoted to television coming online, as the Facebook format would be relatively familiar (though possibly with no sound unless clicked).
The question remains whether users will freak out about video ads. Comments on my last piece about them and general sentiment has been quite wary of what video ads will do to the Facebook experience. If they’re the most eye-catching things on the social network, they could seem quite annoying. AdAge says Facebook might cap video ads so users don’t see more than three a day. Striking the right balance will be critical, though surprisingly, Facebook found that showing static photo ads in the News Feed hasn’t had a significant negative impact on engagement.
And if you’re thinking to yourself, “AdBlock Plus, bro”, that’s up to you. Personally, I think ads are the lifeblood of innovation, funding free products we rely on. But they’re a nuisance unless well-targeted, so hopefully Facebook can keep video ads relevant to the viewer. Otherwise I’d expect a lot of people to look for ways to banish them from their feed.FacebookCut Pro
The secret to making people swallow video ads might be getting them to shoot mini-movies themselves. If there were more user generated videos on the site, the ads would blend in.
The problem is, right now Facebook’s video creation tool is painfully outdated. Unlike its Instagram Video product, there’s no way to shoot multiple shots in a single video, no editing, no stabilization, no cover image, and no filters. That means videos shot with Facebook often look pretty crummy. Crummy videos get few likes, so people don’t shoot them, so no one sees them, so no one thinks to shoot them…
It’s time for Facebook to modernize its video creation tool.
It could easily port in the Instagram Video features, maybe with a better tagging interface since Facebook is more about friends. It also has patents on some pretty futuristic video technologies like recording video as soon as your camera is open, recognizing and tagging faces or locations, and detecting audio and visual cues like saying “that’s beautiful” to select a cover image thumbnail or create anchors for navigating around within a video while watching.
These features could make it much more fun to shoot and view Facebook videos, which could fill the feed with them and camouflage the video ads.
And even if the native creation tools stay the same, a better watching interface could make a big difference. Right now there’s no real way to discover and watch Facebook videos in bulk. A Facebook “channel” that showed your friends’ videos back-to-back (perhaps with clips from Pages and advertisers mixed in) could be an addictive lean-back experience. Better video viewing could pit Facebook in more direct competition with YouTube.
So basically, Facebook has a huge opportunity to step up its video…game, and auto-play on mobile is just the first step. Photos fueled Facebook’s popularity back in its early days. As it turns 10 years old in 2014, we’ll see if video can give it a second wind.
[Image Credit: BGR]
India’s Unique Identification project, also known as Aadhar, earlier this week finished capturing demographic and biometric data of over half a billion residents–the largest biometric project of its kind currently in the world.
It’s been a multi-year effort not without its critics among privacy and security advocates and others. The latest development this week concerned the method that Aadhar is using to capture, store and manage the data, and the role a startup from the U.S. called MongoDB may be playing in it.
MongoDB, a NoSQL database startup, last year raised funding from the CIA-backed In-Q-Tel, an independent non-profit venture backed by the CIA and other U.S. intelligence agencies.
During past few days, several reports in the Indian media have quoted political parties and activists, raising questions about whether sensitive data is being compromised by Aadhar, headed by the Infosys co-founder Nandan Nilekani.
Some of the reports have linked the controversy with MongoDB.
Governments across the world are raising concerns over spying by the National Security Agency, and anything even remotely associated with U.S. government intelligence agencies is enough to cause uproar. Moreover, with general elections set to be held next hear, political rhetoric is at an all time high in India.
Still, the timing of these allegations couldn’t have been worse, at least for the ambitious identification project, which is waiting for a parliament bill to be passed this year to be established as a fully constitutional authority.
I took a tour of Aadhar’s offices in Bangalore, and the truth of the matter, according to officials I spoke to, is that while some have alleged large contracts that include sharing data with MongoDB, the reality is that Aadhar is using MongoDB open source code that doesn’t touch sensitive data. The meeting also offered an opportunity to understand how the biggest biometrics database on earth is functioning, and dealing with concerns of security and privacy.
Moreover, the Unique Identification Authority of India (UIDAI), refuted allegations of sharing Indian residents’ data with any U.S. agencies.
What Aadhar means for India
To set the context right here about Aadhar, and what it means for a country like India, more than half a billion people have no official ID of any kind, which makes it impossible for them to receive government aids, open a bank account, get a loan, get a driving license, and so on. The database project, which is now enrolling over one million Indians residents a day, is scheduled to sign up about 1.2 billion people by the end of next year, making it the biggest biometrics database on earth.
One of the biggest advantages of having a 12-digit Aadhar number is that the government can link bank accounts of the country’s poor with it, and directly transfer cash benefits and other subsidies. Already, nearly 40 million bank accounts in India have been linked with Aadhar.
According to research firm CLSA, more than 40% of the Indian government’s $250 billion worth of subsidies and other other benefits meant for poor, will be lost to corruption over next few years. Aadhar will remove the middlemen and curb any corruption by enabling direct cash transfer to those who need government subsidies.
But several think-tanks and activists including Bangalore-based Centre for Internet & Society, have been raising concerns about privacy issues and even questioning the effectiveness of the entire project.
Inside the biggest biometrics database on earth
I have been trying to get meetings with the officials at Aadhar to understand security aspects, progress so far and their reaction to the MongoDB allegations.
They finally agreed to meet on Friday in their headquarters across the road in one of Bangalore’s southern suburbs, where both Intel’s and Cisco’s India headquarters are located. From outside, Aadhar’s technology center, which stores all residents’ data (now totalling 5 Petabytes in size) does not look like a government building at all—it could pass for as one of the buildings housing Intel or Cisco nearby.
Inside, as I walked into a room with about dozen television screens in the center of it, some twenty young engineers feverishly looked ahead, typing on their computer keyboards, checking the movement of data packets storing information, the setting looked like a very sophisticated command center. The television screens they were looking at showed the journey of these data packets (each sized at around 5MB) from the time they are logged at one of the 30,000 enrollment centers around the country, through at least three stages of validation. Validation includes running duplication checks for each of the profiles to ensure there are not more than one Aadhar number for the same person.
So, for every new enrollment, a ‘de-duplication’ check is done against all existing profiles, which is over half a billion currently.
Srikanth Nadhamuni, a former Intel engineer who helped set up Aadhar’s technology platform in September 2010, and is now running Khosla Labs in Bangalore, tells me that these data packets are stored behind 2048-bit encryption and capable of self-destruction if any unauthorized access is attempted.
Dealing with MongoDB controversy
So why did Aadhar engage with MongoDB in the first place and will it continue working with the startup?
Sudhir Narayana, assistant director general at Aadhar’s technology center, told me that MongoDB was among several database products, apart from MySQL, Hadoop and HBase, originally procured for running the database search. Unlike MySQL, which could only store demographic data, MongoDB was able to store pictures.
However, Aadhar has been slowly shifting most of its database related work to MySQL, after realizing that MongoDB was not being able to cope with massive chunks of data, millions of packets.
They have already started using ‘database sharding’: a process where data packets are stored across different machines to ensure the system does not crash as volumes rise.
This has helped Aadhar reduce its dependency on MongoDB and instead use MySQL for storing most of the data.
Ashok Dalwai, deputy director general of the tech center, told me that MongoDB has no access to any biometric data.
“We believe in using open source technologies to avoid any vendor lock-in, but that doesn’t mean we are in any way, compromising security,” Dalwai said.
When contacted, a MongoDB spokesperson redirected to this announcement about the company’s funding involving In-Q-Tel.
And more importantly, UIDAI started using MongoDB’s open source software much before the startup received any funding from In-Q-Tel. As this Crunchbase entry shows, MongoDB received venture round funding of $7.7 million from Red Hat, Intel Capital and In-Q-Tel, only in 2012.
So what lies ahead for Aadhar?
Despite all the controversies surrounding it, Aadhar is on track to enroll over 1.2 billion Indian residents by end of 2014, the officials added. This will create a database of about 15 petabytes in size.
Currently, the project is enrolling around one million residents in the country a day. Narayana told me that he’s confident of achieving around two million enrollments a day from next year, and that will help bring the remaining 700 million people into the database.
For the record (no pun intended), here are those five #1 hits from Bad, with their release dates:
Of these five hits, "Man In The Mirror" was the biggest, spending 2 weeks at the top and 17 weeks overall on the Billboard Hot 100.
Note: The picture sleeve has the full lyrics printed on the back.