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Show Review

In terms of musical venues, there are few places more iconic than the most famous park in the world. The Supremes, Bob Marley and the Wailers, Simon and Garfunkel, Bon Jovi; New York City's Central Park has played host to a variety of legendary concerts, creating monstrous cultural events that are now a rich part of the city's historical legacy.

Though musical events of this scale (tens of thousands of people) are understandably few and far between, the everyday legacy of the park's musical heritage lives on in the carefully curated programs that take over Rumsey Playfield during the warmer months of the year. SummerStage; an absolute NYC institution...a place where performers and audiences alike revel in a unique, shared concert experience. So when Passion Pit asked us to film their second night of a weekend run on SummerStage last Fall, well...we were smitten by the opportunity.

We of course have been yapping about the show ever since. But today marks our first opportunity to actually show it to you. The glitzy synthetic waves of sound, the addicting bubblegum beats setting thousands of heads a'rocking, those ever-present window-shattering falsettos; it's our great joy to present you with the first half of Passion Pit's mighty performance in Central Park. Since that time, the band has only gained momentum, acquiring a variety of award show nominations (mtvU, Q, etc), helping sell a boatload of Palm products, selling out 3 nights in a row at NYC's cavernous, Terminal 5, and of course touring...none stop touring. But the band's two night run on Central Park marked the beginning of the BIG things to come, in a way...and Baeble's exclusive concert video of the band pretty much sums up why. - David Pitz

Artist Bio

Redemption. Paranoia. Guilt. And brief glimpses of a better tomorrow, all cloaked in pop hooks that truly help the medicine go down.

What is this? Another lost LP from Brian Wilson's sandbox phase? If only things were that simple. What we're really alluding to here is Passion Pit's first proper full-length, Manners, a bird-flipping break from the blogosphere by a 21 year old with much more on his manic mind than girls, girls, girls. You know, important matters, like the end of the world and learning to love someone other than the man in the mirror.

That's the thing people missed about Passion Pit's debut EP, Chunk of Change. While it was originally meant as a Valentine's Day gift for a girlfriend who put up with frontman Michael Angelakos, that detail's only half of a story that isn't so cuddly when you consider the circumstances.

You see, Angelakos has written songs since he was a piano-pounding 5 year old, from spooky and spare folk tunes to pit-stirring ska punk. But one day, he just stopped. Not by choice. Angelakos' creative well was simply in need of a severe refill, so he started toying with the plug-ins and infinite possibilities of a computer program. Six tracks later, Chunk of Change was born by default. In need of an impromptu thank you card and some feedback from friends, Angelakos started spreading the songs around quite casually, really. Which is impossible to do in an era when blogs are as obsessed with breaking the Next Big Thing as labels are.

Flash forward to 2008. With Chunk of Change's official unmixed/mastered pressing in tow, Angelakos and the ever-evolving Passion Pit band play to a sold-out crowd at New York's Bowery Ballroom. A crowd that sees nothing wrong with singing along to every word; even several Manners selections, learned via osmosis by the second verse. With flash bulbs popping in his face like the frontline of a rifle-toting army, Angelakos notes the bizarre scene in front of him but never loses sight of why he's here, of his calling to craft pitch-perfect pop songs- hooks that nip at your heels and choruses that burrow into your brain.

A real deal album in other words, one that delivers on the blissful and bright promises of early fan favorites like Sleepyhead. It took nearly two months of explosive off-the-cuff sessions with producer Chris Zane (Les Savy Fav, The Walkmen) to get there-everything was written and recorded on the fly-but Manners is exactly that, an irresistible, filler-free glimpse into the mind of a man who'd like to unleash his very own Pet Sounds someday.

Check the carefully-sculpted songwriting on display: the speaker-panning synths and slightly sinister children's chorus (straight outta P.S. 22 in NYC) of Little Secrets and The Reeling, the lead dulcimer loops and melancholic melodies of Moth's Wings, the ecstatic, riled-up climax of Folds in Your Hands. All part of a greater plan, the next step of which is taking Passion Pit's live show to a level that matches, and eventually exceeds, Manners ambition and kaleidoscopic soundscapes. Because when Angelakos says he wants to be the next Randy Newman, he's dead serious. And when he adds that Passion Pit is a band with a lead songwriter, not just Michael Angelakos and these guys, it's clear he's just getting started.

Editorial

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Passion Pit

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