Lucid Culture

JAZZ, CLASSICAL MUSIC AND THE ARTS IN NEW YORK CITY

Concert Review: Paul Wallfisch, Barmaljova and the Georges Brassens Translation Project at the Delancey, NYC 2/12/09

Ever notice how every blogger wants to be a promoter? Ohmyrockness has been doing it and now the other trendoid sites are getting into the act. We went into this ass-backwards, from booking shows to blogging. Every now and then somebody (usually a really good, struggling musician looking to build a following) will ask, why don’t you start booking shows again? Answer: with what Paul Wallfisch is doing with his weekly Thursday show at the Delancey, Small Beast, anything we did would be redundant. This is the place to be: it didn’t take the cognoscenti long to discover it. If you want to find out what’s really going on in New York music, if you wonder where the really good stuff that’s totally ignored by all the indie rock blogs is, make a weekly date with the Delancey on Thursday nights.

 

Wallfisch opened the evening as he always does, solo on piano. We’ve given the guy a lot of ink here lately – suffice it to say that European fans of his band Botanica are in for a treat. And New York fans who’re thinking twice about shelling out $100 for tickets and drinks for Steve Nieve at City Winery should check out Wallfisch here for free – one’s as good as the other, and the vibe is similar, dark all the way around, even on the more lighthearted songs. This time around, as has become usual, he played a lot of new material with a few songs from the Botanica catalog mixed in. Then he invited his frequent co-conspirator Little Annie along with haunting Edison Woods frontwoman Julia Frodahl up to provide vocals on a couple of of Annie’s big audience hits, the eerie Diamonds Made of Glass and the sardonic yet wistfully funny party survivor’s anthem The Other Side of Heartache, Frodahl’s richly melancholy soprano blending gorgeously with Annie’s smoky contralto. Wallfisch and Frodahl ended the set on a typically adventurous, rousingly successful note with a torchy Nina Simone blues that the two had never played together before.

 

Barmaljova, the duo of Romashka frontwoman Inna Barmash and violist Lev “Ljova” Zhurbin was next. The two are a couple, so their chemistry onstage made sense. Ljova played the entire set on his custom-made “familiola,” a six-stringed hybrid of violin and viola with a low F one note lower below a guitar’s low E. Expertly using its dynamic range, Zhurbin made an afterthought of the idea of having any more musicians behind them. Barmash said after the show that with the crowd filling the corridor between the stage and the bar that she felt the need to hold back a little, which gave her the chance to work the margins and the spaces between the notes, and she did that marvelously. She’s not just one of the most powerfully affecting singers in New York, she’s world-class, as she proved with songs in Russian, and Yiddish. The duo are partial to minor keys and laments, yet they made the atmosphere triumphant rather than downtrodden, even on the casually furious revenge ballad Koyl (Yiddish for “bullet,” as in “that a bullet would find you,” from their cd with their group the Kontraband).

 

Pierre de Gaillande, frontman of the Snow and Melomane, has started yet another new band, the Georges Brassens Translation Project, who played an upbeat yet haunting set of gypsy and noir cabaret French ballads featuring Gaillande’s English translations of the iconic French songwriter’s frequently corrosive, sometimes sexually charged lyrics. With the slinky sway of the guitar, the acoustic rhythm section and Gaillande’s deadpan delivery, this is a sexy band. Brassens is well-loved by boomer-era Francophones but went largely ignored – he wasn’t sufficiently “branche” i.e. cool enough – until a recent revival (if you read French, check out this intriguing article from france-amerique). Gaillande, one of this generation’s finest lyricists himself, has been unapologetic about how he’s updated some of Brassens’ colloquialisms, most apparent in the caustic May/December romance parody Don Juan. I Made Myself Small (Je Me Suis Fait Tout Petit) was another triumph: “I make myself small in front of the dolly who calls her mommy whenever she’s touched,” Gaillande explained. Their version of The Pornographer revealed the title character as anything but: he just has a purist’s sensibilities. Which were effortlessly abundant throughout over an hour onstage. Watch this space for upcoming shows. Botanica make a return to NYC after a European tour at Joe’s Pub at 7 PM on March 21; Ljova and the Kontraband play March 8 at Barbes at 8ish. And this week’s Small Beast show, Feb 19 starting at 9ish features Wallfisch and Little Annie along with Serena Jost and Dan Machlin’s new project, in addition to subversive author Cintra Wilson.

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February 17, 2009 Posted by | Live Events, Music, music, concert, New York City, review, Reviews, small beast | , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

Can You Help Find Daptone’s Stolen Gear?


Friends and associates,

As you may have heard through the grapevine by now, Daptone was broken into last night.  Unfortunately, there was a lot of equipment (mics, pre-amps, monitors, turntables, guitars, amps, computers, etc.) stolen and damaged.  It is going to take us a while to go through everything and take full stock of what was stolen, and we are not supposed to touch anything until the cops come back to collect fingerprints so we can only guess what’s missing from some mic drawers and cabinets.  And, no, we did not have insurance.  We had been shopping around with different companies earlier this month but had not signed a check, so nothing was insured.  We are working on replacing the gate in front, installing an alarm system, and getting insurance, but it is President’s day so it’s not going as quickly as we would have liked.  Nydia’s computer was stolen (which wasn’t backed up) and the modems/phone system was ripped out, so we’ll be relatively out of commission for a few days.

I would like to ask for everyone’s help first in keeping an eye out for all of our stuff showing up on ebay/craigslist/local music shops, and secondly (and more realistically) keeping an eye out for good deals on headphones, mics, pre-amps, etc.  I could really use a heads up on any kind of studio package for sale or studio equipment to be possibly bought or borrowed as soon as possible.  We have a session scheduled for Friday to lay down some music for (I know this sounds surreal) Rod Stewart, and I’m going to have to get the studio running by then.  I know I’m going to need to find headphones, mics, and pre-amps by then.  I’m not sure what else yet.

Upon first glance we are definitely missing:
Fender Super Guitar Amp in case
Fender Deluxe Guitar Amp
A whole bunch of headphones and wires
Nydia’s HP laptop computer
One Desktop MacIntosh Computer
One Purple Audio API style lunchbox with
four Purple Audio Biz mic pre-amps
2 Yamaha NS10 monitors
Vintage Harmony Rocket Guitar
One steel string acoustic guitar
Martin Tenor sax in a gig bag
Technics 1200 turntable
Ion USB turntable
Teac Receiver/stereo amp
Sony dual deck CD burner/player
All of our modem/phone system stuff was ripped out and taken.
A whole bunch of condensor and dynamic microphones (I still need to figure out exactly what’s missing)
The power supply for my Trident console was tossed and the board was moved (probably not gently) so the status of that is still questionable.
A baldwin organ was tossed and is probably broken.
Lacie External hard drive

Over the next few days, as we sort out the rubble, we are going to figure out what else we lost.

We are putting in a roll down front gate, alarm system, and finally getting our insurance happening this week.  We are also going to hire a security guard to watch the house for tonight as the cops and alarm guy seemed pretty confident that they will be back with a truck now that they’ve seen what’s in here.

Thanks for keeping eyes open for us.  AND PLEASE PASS THIS MESSAGE ALONG TO ANYONE YOU THINK MIGHT BE ABLE TO HELP US.

Thankfully, we all still have our health, ambition, tape machines, and sense of humor in tact.  You can slow us down, but you can’t stop us.   Sleep well knowing we here at Daptone will continue to…

Keep putting Soul up,

Gabriel Roth

P.S.  On a lighter note, it seems like the burglars did drop a few items in order to lift Alex’s old safe out of here, which was VERY heavy, VERY unwieldy, and also VERY EMPTY!

Daptone Records
115 Troutman St.,
Brooklyn, NY 11206
www.daptonerecords.com

February 17, 2009 Posted by | Music, music, concert, New York City | , , , , , | Leave a comment

Top Ten Songs of the Week 2/16/09

As you probably already know, the old American Top 40 had about as much to do with actual popularity and record sales as…well…as much as this page does. Nothing at all, in fact. This is just another way for us to spread the word about some of the best under-the-radar stuff out there.

 

1. Jay Bennett – The Engines Are Idle

This big, vicious, 100% acoustic ballad is the centerpiece of the former Wilco multi-instrumentalist’s brilliant new cd Whatever Happened, I Apologize.

 

2. Soil & “Pimp” Sessions – Storm

Wild stuff by the Japanese inventors of the “death jazz” genre (actually the most live sound you could ever want to hear, right from the wall of horns that hits you upside the head as the song opens). From their upcoming cd Planet Pimp, scheduled for release on Koch on 2/24.

 

3. Our Vision – The Game

A big, sweeping, gorgeous janglerock anthem. Sounds a lot like the Church! They’re at Ace of Clubs on 4/3  

 

4. The Mad Dukes – Gone Gone Gone

Hauntingly rustic Steve Earle-esque murder ballad with a trick ending, a remake of the version that first appeared on Kim Simpson’s 1996 Midnight Apparitions cd.

 

5. Julia Haltigan & the Hooligans – All I Can Think of Is You

Really cool, noirish jazzy Americana. Click on this and then try tuning out. You can’t. She’s at 11th St. Bar on 2/24 at 10.

 

6. The Great Deceivers – Starless

Live cover of the epic King Crimson classic. In two parts, one here and the other here on youtube.

 

7. Ten Pound Heads – Paint Manhattan Black

A pop song as Iron Maiden or King’s X might have done it – fast new wave bassline, organ in the background. Good stuff.  

 

8. Destroy All Monsters – Party Girl

Yeah, we’ve been surfing youtube. This is a golden oldie, Ron Asheton’s late 70s band with Detroit cult vocalist Niagara. She looks great and the footage of Ron’s characteristic wailing solos is choice. Turn it up.  

 

9. The Brooklyn What – Soviet Guns

Wouldn’t be a Top Ten without a Brooklyn What song, right? And it makes a great segue with Ron Asheton. This is a characteristically snarling live take from the Brooklyn Lyceum show last year that made our Top 20 shows of 2008 list.

 

10. Rocketship Park – Birthdaydeathwish

The beautiful lushness of the string section and the soaring melody of this big ballad makes you forget about the flat, weak, stereotypical indie vocals. They’re at Monkey Town on 2/21 at 10:30 PM with the smartly amusing Balthrop Alabama.

February 17, 2009 Posted by | lists, Lists - Best of 2008 etc., Music, music, concert | , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

Song of the Day 2/17/09

Tuesday’s is #526: The Beatles – Blue Jay Way

Full disclosure: when we inherited our alltime top 666 songs list in its embryonic form from our predecessor e-zine, there were a lot more Beatles songs on it then than there are now. In tweaking and updating the list, the ultimate consensus was  to give as much space as possible to lesser-known artists who might pique your interest far more than hearing for the umpteenth time how great the Fab Four were. In fact, in order to keep the list at a total of 666, we jettisoned pretty much every well-known, overplayed oldies radio song we could find. But we couldn’t get rid of this one, George’s hypnotic, psychedelic one-chord salute to nonconformity. “Please don’t be long, please don’t belong.” Best song on the vastly underrated 1968 Magical Mystery Tour album, whose cd sales earn the remaining Beatles zero royalties and therefore without exception should be downloaded for free rather than purchased.

February 17, 2009 Posted by | lists, Lists - Best of 2008 etc., Music, music, concert | , , , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment