Lucid Culture

JAZZ, CLASSICAL MUSIC AND THE ARTS IN NEW YORK CITY

Song of the Day 4/25/09

Every day, our top 666 songs of alltime countdown gets one step closer to #1. Saturday’s song is #459:

Blondie – Angels on the Balcony

Jimmy Destri’s sweeping layers of synth give this sweet powerpop gem a gorgeously lush feel: you don’t even notice how off-key Debbie Harry’s voice is. From Autoamerican, 1980; mp3s abound.

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April 24, 2009 Posted by | lists, Lists - Best of 2008 etc., Music, music, concert | , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

Concert Review – Pete Galub at Lakeside Lounge, NYC 4/22/09

If you want to play great guitar, watch this guy. This is somebody who once placed Comfortably Numb all the way through, solo onstage on electric guitar, as a funk instrumental. And it actually worked. Brilliantly, in fact. As a sideman, Pete Galub has a resume that would make a lot of guys blush, as Amy Allison’s once-and-future lead guitarist and as one of the original Extroverts in Greta Gertler’s band. That he’d pick up gigs with those two songwriters makes even more sense when you hear his own material: Galub can’t resist a clever pun or a playful musical jape and neither can those two. But he saves his most ferocious playing for his own stuff. Thursday night at Lakeside he put on a clinic in understatedly melodic powerpop and noise-rock guitar, two styles that you wouldn’t think would go well together, maybe, unless you were a Steve Wynn fan. In fact, it sounded a lot like Galub had been holed up with a bunch of Steve Wynn bootleg tracks, which as it turned out, he hadn’t. Then again, maybe the wheel was invented simultaneously by two different guys who barely knew each other.

 

Fast and furious as he can be, Galub didn’t waste any notes, choosing his spots judiciously before hitting his distortion pedal or shading the textures with a deft twist or two on the bass, the treble or the volume (subtlety is everything in this guy’s book). Backed by a subtle, in-the-pocket rhythm section, he’d start out with a low growl and then make his way methodically to the upper registers, adding a snarling, wailing, dirty ferocity, then backing off, then turning the demons loose again. Bending and twisting a series of richly sustained chords, sinuous pop and country licks, he’d go on for a couple of minutes and would still leave the crowd wanting more when he wrapped up the solo. The midtempo Big Star-inflected number that he played next-to-last turned into a launching pad for some pyrotechnics that sounded straight out of the Karl Precoda songbook. Perhaps somewhat fortuituosly, Galub closed the set with the slow, tongue-in-cheek 6/8 ballad Boy Gone Wrong ( the title track from his most recent solo cd), inviting up Steve Wynn lead player Jason Victor to join him. Victor took his time tuning up. “Is there something you’d like to promote?” Galub asked him, giving him a chance to plug a gig or two.

 

“Sleep,” Victor mumbled. Yet when the time came, Galub looked stage right and started pouncing on a quick series of chords, and Victor was right there to join him in a noisy duel just as he does in Wynn’s band. Galub held down the lows, wildly tremolo-picking until he’d built a roaring, whirring cauldron of sound, Victor chopping at his strings like the chainsaw killer in Last House on the Left. It wasn’t pretty but it was a blast to hear. The crowd roared for an encore and Galub reverted to quick, tersely effective powerpop mode. Suddenly choosing this gig over Devi (whose lead player is also a serious monster), who were playing at Shrine, seemed like the right choice this time around. Galub’s next gig is with Serena Jost’s band at 7:30 PM on Apr 29 at le Poisson Rouge; watch this space for his next as a bandleader.

April 24, 2009 Posted by | Live Events, Music, music, concert, New York City, review, Reviews | , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

CD Review: The Very Best of the Whiskey Daredevils

Very smart, very funny roots rock. At first listen, this might sound at a distance like your typical bar band fare, but Cleveland’s Whiskey Daredevils are a whole lot more than that, closer to the Yayhoos except with more of a vintage 50s/60s influence. ” How come Guns N Roses took 14 years to make a record, yet the Daredevils made one in 5 days that is twice as good?” asks their press release. Answer: well, for one they aren’t a bunch of posers (like the girl just back from LA chronicled in the snide Hey Nancy). What’s more, they play with soul and fire, particularly guitarist Bob Lanphier who sounds like Billy Zoom on steroids. As you may have guessed, this isn’t the greatest-hits anthology alluded to by the cd cover, it’s their latest album (on the German Knock-Out label).

 

The cd kicks off with the riff from Mystery Train, into the tongue-in-cheek murder ballad Friend in Jesus. One of the reasons why the songs here are so funny is because they succeed so well at capturing the band’s twisted, blue-collar, decaying Rust Belt mileu and the weirdos who populate it, notably Gary in Gary Sez Fuck ‘Em, who can’t remember anything because he drinks too much Jaegermeister and has absolutely no interest in meeting anybody from Springsteen’s band. He could be real – there are a lot of guys like that around. Like the obsessive who won’t let his friend get a word in edgewise because he’s always talking about Planet of the Apes, when he could be hearing about something far more interesting like an encounter with a mobster on the way to an Iggy Pop show, or a stripper from Iran with a “snow white tan.” That’s another song here.

 

The absolutely funniest one here is a minor-key rockabilly-inflected number about a wannabe Texas troubador who works at Bennigan’s and lives in his parents’ basement, spending his free time serenading girls at the local open mic: “Original compositions sure do make the ladies cry,” singer Greg Miller explains with a wink the size of Lake Erie. Another one, Jimmy Rogers, is a laugh-out-loud dismissal of hero worship that plays like a straight-up country homage until the last verse. Then there’s the roaring, punkish Skunk Weed, nicking a lick from We’re Desperate by X (could that be intentional maybe?), chronicling the misadventures of a brain-addled Deadhead. He can’t get a job, but “when it comes to weed, he’s a handyman, make you a pipe from a Pepsi can.” There’s also a swinging, minor-key rumble, like a darker Rev. Horton Heat, the snide tale of a drunk kid who tries to swim the Cuyahoga river and doesn’t make it (set to the tune of El Paso) and a spot-on, sarcastic tune about laid off industrial workers going off to Iraq, knowing, of course, that Uncle Sam has a plan and everything will be fine. This is a great driving album (it’ll definitely keep you awake) and a great party album. If you ever throw a kegger and a crowd of trendoids with trucker hats, lumberjack beards, Elton John glasses and $400 bedhead haircuts shows up, just put this cd on, they’ll all leave and you’ll get your place back.

April 24, 2009 Posted by | Music, music, concert, review, Reviews | , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

Song of the Day 4/24/09

Every day, our top 666 songs of alltime countdown gets one step closer to #1. Friday’s song is #460:

Botanica The Truth Fish

The title track to the NYC noir art-rockers’ classic 2004 cd Botanica vs. the Truth Fish – the only album by an American band not named Rasputina to thoroughly condemn the Bush regime for 9/11 – it’s a scathing broadside addressing the “code orange bullshit of Machiavellian ordeals” of the ensuing months and years, a fiery gypsy dance mutating into a phantasmagorically swinging cabaret tune and then back again. The link in the title above is a ferocious live clip from a recent European tour. If you want to see this live, Botanica frontman Paul Wallfisch frequently plays it at his weekly Thursday Small Beast residency/salon/show at the Delancey starting around nine. 

April 24, 2009 Posted by | lists, Lists - Best of 2008 etc., Music, music, concert | , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment