Lucid Culture

JAZZ, CLASSICAL MUSIC AND THE ARTS IN NEW YORK CITY

CD Review: Sex With No Hands – Squeeze It

The title of the cd is a pun, since this tongue-in-cheek San Francisco dance/funk sextet – couldn’t resist that word – relies on two accordions plus an oldschool, 1980s style keytar (a synth mounted on a body that looks like a guitar and is played while slung over the shoulder), plus a horn section. Their songs are catchy, they have a good sense of humor and they don’t take themselves seriously at all – and claim to have been cited by the Onion for having one of the best band names of 2008 (well, it’s true – they do). Along with the keytar, they also use one of those silly talkboxes (you know, like Zapp & Roger, or Mr. Blue Sky? Mr. Blue? Sky? Mr. Blue!) when they really feel like going for laughs.  

 

The first cut on the cd is Red Light Love, a funk song, like what Zapp & Roger would have sounded like with accordions. The second track, Pogo Stick is predictably funny, Freudian, latin inflected funk with the occasional cheesy keytar flourish. Tengo Un Secreto is a scurrying Mexican banda polka with similarly amusing Spanish lyrics. The last song on the ep is a completely over-the-top, klezmerized cover of a Billy Idol hit which they call Rebbe Yell. It’s a hoot, right down to the faux Billy Idol vox. When it’s time for that idiotic guitar solo, the keytar and accordion duel it out til the drum break, which is as just as funny but for completely different reasons. You can dance to everything here: stick it in a party cd and watch the quizzical expressions. WTF is this? This is fun! If the cd is any indication, they ought to be an excellent live band. Best thing about the cd is that it’s free, download it here. Bay Area fans should check out their show on a killer triple bill on March 21 at Cafe du Nord; Sex With No Hands are scheduled to hit at 11:30, but show up early at 9 for all-female, 60’s-era Kinks cover band the Minks and then awesomely catchy yet haunting harmony-driven art-rockers Blue Rabbit.

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February 14, 2009 Posted by | Music, music, concert, review, Reviews | , , , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

Art Review: Current Chelsea Exhibits

Amy Pleasant has an absolutely riveting show up at the Jeff Bailey Gallery. It seems unlikely that its theme is in any way 9/11-related, but anyone who lived through the attack and the days afterward will find special resonance in her paintings’  grey-toned, swirling clouds of smoke and silhouettes. Ironically, the show’s centerpiece – the wall-sized black silhouette of a woman sleeping, her back turned to the viewer – is the least compelling. But the guy falling through the clouds – only the outline of his ankles and shoes visible through the black smoke – and the fat man with the glasses tumbling out of the lower right corner are disconcerting, to say the least, and the mixed hues of the clouds are spot-on. There are also a couple of large works, each of whose centerpiece is a woman getting a consoling hug, one a city scene with doors and windows visible amidst the smoke, the other extremely evocative of the billowing sky after the Twin Towers were detonated and came down.

 

Photographer Walter Niedermayr has a collection of his signature multi-panel distant shots up at the Robert Millery Gallery through March 14. The most obvious one is also the most potent, a side view of New Museum on the Bowery, its practically hypnotic mesh exterior contrasting with the neighborhood visible in the distance in the lower lefthand corner, graffiti and all: wow, people actually live here! The most amusing of the photos is a bunch of tour boats circling amidst icebergs, an outboard-motor-propelled pontoon boat looking particularly jaunty and carefree. Yikes! There are also several panels of people climbing beach dunes, and a ski slope. Nature dwarfs everything here. Nobody’s fooling anyone.

 

Julie Allen has a typically playful, in fact absolutely delightful, Rube Goldberg-esque collection of sculpture up at McKenzie Fine Art, also through March 14. Many of her colorful plastic creations look like something you might expect to see after getting halfway through a plastic model kit for a car, or an aircraft: lots of axles and other mechanical parts. Dare you to get through this without cracking a smile – it’s impossible. On display: one of the arms from the Scrambler (you know, the carnival ride, the one with the arm that goes up and down as the inner axle spins)? A strangely connected lighthouse and millwheel? A bizarre caterpillar vehicle with what looks like the explorer arm from a space rover? A headless robot picking up something, and a baby’s arm holding an apple (just kidding about that last one).

 

And in lieu of a scathing dismissal of another current Chelsea show – trying hard to hold back the contempt here – renderings of drunken facebook photos of your spoiled, rich college pals are not, as one “artist” calls them, “scandalous.” Scandalous would be a spycam photo of Dick Cheney getting fucked up the ass by Jeff Gannon.

February 14, 2009 Posted by | Art, review, Reviews | , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

Song of the Day 2/14/09

Every day, our top 666 songs of alltime countdown gets one step closer to #1. Valentine’s Day being strictly for the greeting card people, the chocolatiers and the florists, we’re sticking with our everyday program. Today’s song is #529:

Ozzy Osbourne – So Tired

It’s hard to type this beneath the deluge of spitballs and rotten vegetables. Ozzy Osbourne, on the alltime top 666?!!!!? Yup. It’s Ozzy’s producers’ brilliantly successful attempt at an ELO-style orchestrated rock ballad, and to his credit, the Ozz-man actually sings it well. Sweet piano, strings and even the bass player stops phoning it in and sounds like he’s having fun. Download it wherever mp3s are found; the vinyl version is available in the bargain bins for a dollar or less on the 1984 Bark at the Moon album.

February 14, 2009 Posted by | lists, Lists - Best of 2008 etc., Music, music, concert | , , , , , | Leave a comment