Lucid Culture

JAZZ, CLASSICAL MUSIC AND THE ARTS IN NEW YORK CITY

CD Review – The Wiyos

Like any other style of music that’s currently played, oldtimey music keeps evolving, maybe as much as it did eighty years ago before it went out of vogue, then eventually started leaking out of the archives, became retro and in demand again. Plus ca change. At the front of the parade are New York expats the Wiyos, best known for their frenetic live shows, but they also put out good cds and this one, their latest, is excellent. Recorded live to two-track tape, it maintains the energy and immediacy of 1920s blues and hillbilly music. Main songwriter Parrish Ellis’ playing on resonator guitar, five-string banjo and banjo uke is spiky and inspired, matched by his bandmates Michael Farkas on harmonica and washboard, Joseph Dejarnette on upright bass and Teddy Weber, mainly on acoustic guitar. Lyrically, their songs typically take on a period vernacular, particularly with the catalog of funeral requests on the rather eerie Dying Crapshooter’s Blues and cd’s opening track, the tongue-in-cheek hellraising anthem Jack and Boone.

 

The cd’s strongest suit is its diversity, matching the stark, minor-key stuff with the rueful country string band ballad Hudson Valley Line – “You were gone before you came through the pines” – and the gorgeous, more-apt-than-ever workingman’s lament Silver Spoon. To the band’s further credit, the cheese factor is kept at a minimum – while this is a band that isn’t above using as kazoo for a solo, this isn’t a silly cd (although that song about ants in pants is). Fans of all the A-list, popular retro people – Tom Waits, AA Bondy, the Squirrel Nut Zippers and the Moonlighters will all dig this. The Wiyos play Joe’s Pub on Mar 7 at 7:30 PM

Advertisements

March 3, 2009 Posted by | Music, music, concert, review, Reviews | , , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

Concert Review: Mamiko Iwasaki at the Organ at St. Thomas Church, NYC 3/1/09

An intriguing, enlightening and original performance by Japanese-born, American-educated, now Tokyo-based organist Mamiko Iwasaki. She opened by playing Bach on the church’s smaller, rear organ, breaking up the Prelude and Fugue BWV 552 into separate parts, wrapping the rather familiar, generally upbeat work around another standard, the composer’s version of the hymn Schmucke Dich, O liebe Seele (Praise you, Holy Spirit). It’s a slow, somewhat stern, quietly pensive work, and Iwasaki really dragged it out, lento at best. Taken as an eerie meditation, the approach worked.

 

She then moved to the big front organ, the old 1914 Skinner for two absolutely enchanting pieces. The first, Tsugaru Kobiki-Uta, by Japanese composer Mutsuo Tsuruta was a strangely glimmering pastorale, permutations of an old folk melody in the traditional Asian scale rising to new levels of intensity through the pipes. It’s meant to evoke the sound of spirits in the woods. But they’re playful spirits, and they hop around and jump out at you when you least expect it! By contrast, another Japanese work by Hideo Mizokami, Music from Unchu Kuyo Bosatsu was all rapt, stately blocks of ambience, an evocation of the famous Byodoin Temple, a 1052 structure in Kyoto, winding up with a miminalist yet spectacular pedal figure. Western listeners seldom get the chance to hear music this strikingly interesting, especially played by someone as obviously and effectively knowledgeable about its nuances: let’s hope Iwasaki makes a return trip sooner than later.

March 3, 2009 Posted by | Live Events, Music, music, concert, New York City, review, Reviews | , , , , , , , | 1 Comment

Top Ten Songs of the Week 3/2/09

Here’s this week’s hit parade! This is how we do every Tuesday: 

 

1. Jay Bennett – I’ll Decorate My Love

Opening salvo on the former Wilco multi-instrumentalist’s bitter, brooding new solo cd (available for free download here).

2. Edison Woods – Wind Song

A new one from the lush, atmospheric, often haunting chamber-rock group — minimalist, stark, haunting, with especially nice vocals from composer Julia Frodahl. Eventually this will be a part of a marvelous album called the Wishbook Singles.

3. Marissa Nadler – Mexican Summer

Ethereal noir shoegaze song from the haunting Boston chanteuse. She’s at Joe’s Pub on 3/4 at 9:30

4. Thalia Zedek – Hell Is In Hello

Another sweet intense guitar maelstrom from the former Come frontwoman.

5. The New Familiars – The Storm

Hypnotic delta blues gone grasscore – wild stuff. They’re at Public Assembly on 3/14.

6. The Mess Around – Drunken Words

“Bullshit I can’t? Bullshit, I care?” Whatever. Play this as loud as you can without going deaf or, if you’re at work, without getting fired. They’re at the Charleston on 3/20.

7. The Brooklyn What – Sunbeam Sunscreen

It wouldn’t be a Top Ten without a Brooklyn What song, would it. This is a tasty live version. They’re at Don Pedro’s on 3/5 at 10.

8. The Bombers – One Foot in the Grave

Sonic Youth meets Ted Leo.

9. Elextra – Afro Punk

Spooky surf dub en Espanol. They’re at Ace of Clubs on 3/11

10. Wet Coma – Song About Revenge

AC/DC parody, predictable but funny. They’re also at Ace of Clubs on 3/18 at 8.

March 3, 2009 Posted by | lists, Lists - Best of 2008 etc., Music, music, concert | , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

Song of the Day 3/3/09

Every day, our top 666 songs of alltime countdown gets one step closer to #1. Tuesday’s song is #512:

The Gotham 4 – 3001

Ninth House guitarist Keith Otten originally released this towering, savage, flamenco-inflected anthem on the 1997 debut cd by his Kotten project, but it’s his 2006 two-guitar version with this later band that really burns down the house. Unlike what you might think, it’s not a sci-fi epic; the title refers to the number of days in a marriage.

March 3, 2009 Posted by | lists, Lists - Best of 2008 etc., Music, music, concert | , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment