Lucid Culture

JAZZ, CLASSICAL MUSIC AND THE ARTS IN NEW YORK CITY

CD Review: The Jazz Funeral

This cd has absolutely nothing to do with jazz and isn’t exactly goth, although it’s relentlessly dark. This is a terrifically intelligent, auspicious debut for these lyrically-driven Staten Island retro rockers. It’s a mix of jangly, 60s inflected songs with smartly understated vocals and excellent, brooding lyrics that contrast with the songs’ catchy, upbeat, frequently country-inflected melodies.

 

The cd kicks off with Annie’s Kitchen Table, a fast country shuffle with a slightly Blonde on Blonde feel and a bitter, anguished lyric anticipating a breakup, “the summer months coming hard,” the narrator chainsmoking and anticipating the worst. There’s a nice, tastefully bluesy guitar solo that works perfectly with the tone of the song. The next track, Pulling Off the Wings is a haunting, oldtime-flavored backbeat country song with pizzicato mandolin, all tension that refuses to break, “Clocks don’t stop and cars refuse to crash…it’s so plain to see I’ve been so unwell.” The sarcastic, angry Entry-Level Blues starts out fast and bouncy like the Kinks or the early Move but quickly builds to more of a country feel; Jolene, of the South Shore, a rueful ballad slinks along on a beautifully tense melody, chords shifting from major to minor with elegant restraint. The best song on the ep is its closing cut, Goodnight (Is How I Say Goodbye), begining ominous with layers of oldtimey blues guitar, suddenly jumping to a raging, staccato Weimar blues melody and then exploding into fiery janglerock:

 

If the ghost of Robert Moses came to talk to me

Would you demolish every brownstone in Bay Ridge

All the ghosts you see are real…

Walk toward the light but be prepared to say goodnight

 

Best thing about this cd is it’s free, download it here. Fans of the A-list of tuneful, intense lyrical rockers: Elvis Costello, Aimee Mann, LJ Murphy, Matt Keating, Ward White and the rest will devour this. A great ipod album, it screams out for headphones. The Jazz Funeral play Bowery Poetry Club on Feb 14 and then Feb 18 at Ace of Clubs.

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February 2, 2009 Posted by | Music, music, concert, review, Reviews | , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

CD Review: Any Day Parade

Any Day Parade are way fun. Fronted by a woman who goes by the name of Tree (for Teresa, maybe? Just guessing…) and sings with a casual, warm, upbeat southern charm, they play a catchy, rousing, smartly crafted blend of oldschool, 60s style country and clanging, jangly rock spiced with boisterous, tuneful lead guitar wherever they can squeeze it in. Everything they do has a delirious late-night feel, i.e. they all sound like they’re half in the bag but they’re having a great time and it’s absolutely irresistible if sometimes a little bit sloppy – but you wouldn’t want it slick and soulless now, would you?

 

Five songs on their new ep: Hold on Me has one of the guys in the band singing with soaring harmonies from Tree. It’s a fast, blazing country shuffle, suddenly dropping down to just the acoustic guitar, then exploding with more electric frenzy. I’ve Had Time is also fast, with a backbeat: it wouldn’t be out of place on a Demolition String Band album. Broken Lamps is a surprisingly dark, fast backbeat blues that brings to mind the Walkabouts during their long Americana phase throughout the 90s. Good Mornin Darlin is a little quieter with gorgeous vocals over sweet soaring steel guitar; Miss You features artsy, somewhat psychedelic lead guitar and an especially fetching lead vocal. As with everything else they do, the interplay between the guitars is intricate and nothing if not tasteful: although both guys play a lot of notes, they don’t waste any and that’s a rare quality. Everything here sounds like it was recorded live; if this is any indication, they ought to be a killer live band. CDs are available at shows; the band has a considerably deeper repertoire, as a listen to some rough mixes of their latest stuff bears out. Any Day Parade play O’Hara’s (the former PJ Ryan’s) at 172 1st St. in Jersey City on Feb 20 at 9.

February 2, 2009 Posted by | Music, music, concert, review, Reviews | , , , , | 1 Comment

Song of the Day 2/2/09

Every day, our top 666 songs of alltime countdown gets one step closer to #1. Monday’s is #541:

Noxes Pond – Ska (The Art of Walking)

This has absolutely nothing to do with either ska or walking. It’s more than ten minutes of classic noise-rock from this late 90s Lower East Side New York power/funk trio, featuring one of the alltime great nails-down-the-blackboard guitar solos, at least eight paint-peeling minutes of distorted, feedback-drenched madness over a head-bopping groove. This one is extraordinarily hard to find – the version that counts is on a very obscure cassette-only ep.  The guitarist would go on to even further greatness in brilliant art/punk/noise rockers System Noise; the drummer now runs a company that manufactures fantastic, high-quality speakers.

February 2, 2009 Posted by | lists, Lists - Best of 2008 etc., Music, music, concert | , , , , | Leave a comment