Guess what: we have a new calendar for November and December up now!
As always, weekly events first followed by some daily listings:
Starting 10/29 Taylor Mac’s epic extravaganza The Lily’s Revenge – a lily goes on a quest to wed a human bride and destroy the God of Nostalgia, approximate duration 5 hours!!! – with music by the incomparable Rachelle Garniez runs through November 22nd at Here Arts Center, 145 6th Ave. at Dominick (across the park, downstairs, west side of the street).
If you can’t make it to this year’s Womex in Copenhagen, you can stream the 2009 Womex album with all kinds of killer world music acts: Kayhan Kalhor and Brooklyn Rider, Watcha Clan and more.
Sundays there’s a klezmer brunch at City Winery, show starts round 11:30 AM – 2 PM, $10 cover, no minimum, lots of good bands.
Sundays from half past noon to 3:30 PM, bluegrass cats Freshly Baked (f.k.a. Graveyard Shift), featuring excellent, incisive fiddle player Diane Stockwell play Nolita House (upstairs over Botanica at 47 E Houston). Free drink with your entree.
The 2009-10 series of organ concerts at St. Thomas Church continues most every Sunday (holidays excepted) at 5:15 sharp, featuring an allstar cast of performers. Concerts continue through the end of May 2010.
Stephane Wrembel plays Sundays at Barbes at 9. The guitarist has few if any equals as an interpreter of Django Reinhardt, but it’s where he takes the gypsy jazz influence in his own remarkably original, psychedelic writing – and what he brings to the Django stuff – that makes all the difference. One of the most interesting players in any style of music, anywhere in the world.
Every Sunday the Ear-Regulars, led by trumpeter Jon Kellso and (frequently) guitarist Matt Munisteri play NYC’s only weekly hot jazz session starting around 8 PM at the Ear Inn on Spring St. Hard to believe, in the city that springboarded the careers of thousands of jazz legends, but true. This is by far the best value in town for marquee-caliber jazz: for the price of a drink and a tip for the band, you can see world-famous players (and brilliant obscure ones) you’d usually have to drop $100 for at some big-ticket room. The material is mostly old-time stuff from the 30s and 40s, but the players (especially Kellso and Munisteri, who have a chemistry that goes back several years) push it into some deliciously unexpected places.
Every Sunday, hip-hop MC Big Zoo hosts the long-running End of the Weak rap showcase at the Pyramid, 9 PM, admission $5 before 10, $7 afterward. This is one of the best places to discover some of the hottest under-the-radar hip-hop talent, both short cameos as well as longer sets from both newcomers and established vets.
Mondays at the Fat Cat the Heun Choi String Quartet play a wide repertoire of chamber music from Bach to Shostakovich starting at 7
Mondays at the Jazz Standard it’s all Mingus, whether with the Mingus Orchestra, Big Band or Mingus Dynasty: you know the material and the players are all first rate. Sets 7:30/9:30 PM, $25 and worth it.
Mondays at the Delancey on the main floor, 9 PMish Botanica frontman and master of menace Paul Wallfisch presents the edgiest weekly music series in town, playfully called Small Beast, an international mix of some of the most intelligent (and frequently darkest) performers passing through town. It’s free and there’s always some kind of drink special or freebee. If you wish Tonic was still open, Wallfisch is keeping the flame alive. He typically opens the night solo on piano, reason enough to put this on your calendar. October artists include Pete Galub, Sally Norvell, Julia Kent (ex-Rasputina), Carol Lipnik, Reid Paley, Pamelia Kurstin and more
Also Monday nights Vince Giordano’s Nighthawks, a boisterous horn-driven 11-piece 1920s/early 30’s band play Sofia’s Restaurant, downstairs at the Edison Hotel, 221 West 46th Street between Broadway & 8th Ave., 3 sets from 8 to 11, surprisingly cheap $15 cover plus $15 minimum considering what you’re getting. Even before the Flying Neutrinos or the Moonlighters, multi-instrumentalist Giordano was pioneering the oldtimey sound in New York; his long-running residency at the old Cajun on lower 8th Ave. is legendary. He also gets a ton of film work (Giordano wrote the satirical number that Willie Nelson famously sang in Wag the Dog).
Also Mondays the free reggae show that used to be held at Rehab has gravitated to SOB’s, 9ish, free w/rsvp to firstname.lastname@example.org, 21 and over.
Also Mondays in October the Barbes house band, Chicha Libre plays there starting around 9:30. They’ve singlehandedly resurrected an amazing subgenre, chicha, which was popular in the Peruvian Amazon in the late 60s and early 70s. With electric accordion, cuatro, surf guitar and a boisterous rhythm section, their mix of obscure classics and originals is one of the funnest, most danceable things you’ll witness this year. Perhaps not so strangely, they sound a lot like Finnish surf rockers Laika and the Cosmonauts in their most imaginative moments.
Also Mondays in October Rev. Vince Anderson and his band play Union Pool in Williamsburg, two sets starting around 11 PM. The Rev. is one of the great keyboardists around, equally thrilling on organ or electric piano, an expert at Billy Preston style funk, honkytonk, gospel and blues. He writes very funny, very politically astute, frequently salacious original gospel songs and is one of the great live performers of our time. Moist Paula from the late, great Moisturizer is the lead soloist on baritone sax.
Mondays at 7 PM in NOVEMBER (not October) Pierre de Gaillande, frontman of estimable art-rockers Melomane and the Snow plays the music of Georges Brassens in his own English translations at Barbes. Brassens was a member of the French Resistance, an anarchist, a furiously lyrical, lecherous, somewhat louche presence and one hell of a songwriter. Here’s a way to get to know a French icon who deserves to better known outside his native land. Gaillande will be releasing an album of Brassens songs on Barbes records in 2010.
The second and fourth Tuesday of the month there are free organ recitals at half past noon at Central Synagogue, Lexington Ave. at 55th., an exciting list of first-class performers in a sonically gorgeous space, a great way to spend your lunch break if you work in the neighborhood.
Tuesdays the boisterous and very popular brass-heavy gypsy jazz band Slavic Soul Party plays Barbes at 9. Get here as soon as you can as the opening act is usually popular as well.
Tuesdays in October the Dred Scott Trio play astonishingly smart, dark piano jazz at the Rockwood at midnight.
Wednesdays in September at Puppets Jazz Bar in Sunset Park, Brooklyn, 7 PM superb latin jazz composer Arturo O’Farrill solo on piano ($10 cover) followed at 9 by trumpeter John McNeil’s group feat. Noah Preminger on tenor.
Every Wednesday, Michael Arenella & the Dreamland Dance Band play sly yet boisterous oldtimey hot jazz at the Clover Club, 210 Smith St. (Butler/Baltic) in Carroll Gardens, Brooklyn, 8:30 -10:30 PM.
Every Wednesday in October, Will Scott and drummer Wylie Wirth play mesmerizing, hypnotic, completely authentic Mississippi hill country blues along with Scott’s own melodic, tuneful blues originals at 68 Jay St. Bar in Dumbo, starting around 8:30 PM. Junior Kimbrough, R.L. Burnside and Asie Payton are sadly gone but Scott continues their tradition of music that is as danceable as it is trance-inducing, and does his influences justice.
Sonia’s Party, who blend a bewitching oldschool Motown sound with a vintage Memphis groove play a free show every Wednesday in November – not October -at 11 PM at Shrine uptown
Fridays there’s live Mediterranean music – Greek- Arabic, Turkish Armenian, Israeli fusion with Mike Stoupakis, Christos Zavolas, Sofia on on vocals, Elias Sarkar-oud/vocals, Kostas Konstantinou – drums, plus bellydancers at Lafayette Grill & Bar, 54 Franklin St., downtown,$20 cover, 10ish, free after 1 AM.
9/30 go see Moisturizer at 9 at Zebulon! They’re amazing and fun. All instrumental, 2/3 female, baritone sax,bass/drums.
10/1 Trio M: Myra Melford, Mark Dresser, and Matt Wilson 7 PM at Drom, $15
10/1 New Model Army at the Mercury, 8:30ish, $15 adv tix
10/1 the Quavers at Barbes 8 PM followed at 10 by Rachelle Garniez, back from recording with Jack White – she just did a killer new vinyl single with him.
10/1 Tall Tall Trees at Arlene’s 9 PM
10/1 Maynard & the Musties at Hank’s 8:30ish
10/1 this year’s trumpet festival kicks off at the Jazz Standard with the Ambrose Akinmusire Quartet plus special guest Avishai Cohen: Ambrose Akinmusire – trumpet;Vijay Iyer – piano;Chris Tordini – bass; Marcus Gilmore – drums, sets 7:30/9:30 $25
10/1, 9 PM at the Jalopy alternately haunting and lush Knoxville oldtimey swing blues/ragtime band Christabel & the Jons
10/1 El Pueblo play reggae en Espanol at Shrine 10 PM
10/2 at the Jazz Standard Jeremy Pelt with special guests Eddie Henderson and James Zollar: Jeremy Pelt – trumpet; Marc Cary – piano; Vicente Archer – bass; Gerald Cleaver – drums, sets 7:30/9:30, $30
10/2 the Mess Around at 9ish at Don Pedro’s
10/2 Nation Beat at Barbes 10 PM
10/2 Tom Shaner at Lakeside 11 PM
10/2, 11 PM fiery, artsy, tuneful rock en Espanol band New Madrid at Shea Stadium in Bushwick, 20 Meadow St., L train to Grand St.
10/2, 11:30 PM Watcha Clan followed by Slavic Soul Party’s cd release show at Southpaw $12 adv tix rec.
10/3, 7 PM Lorraine Leckie and Her Demons at Banjo Jim’s
10/3, 8 PM virtuoso Iranian kamancheh (spike fiddle) player/composer Kayhan Kalhor – founder of Masters of Persian Music – playing a rare solo show at Symphony Space, adv tix $30 highly recommended
10/3 the fiery two-guitar highway rockers Sloe Guns at Arlene’s 9 PM followed by the anthemic, Oasis-esque Dash at 10
10/3 at the new Knit in Williamsburg, a nightlong ska show featuring the Hub City Stompers,Void Union, Channel One, the Stress, the Hard Times, adv tix $12 highly rec.
10/3 the Fleshtones at Union Hall 10:30 PM $10 adv tix highly rec.
10/3, 10 PM Christina Courtin at the Bell House, $12
10/3 the Serena Jean Band at Lakeside 11 PM
10/4 7 PM Joseph & James Tawadros play Egyptian oud music at Barbes followed at 9 by Stephane Wrembel
10/4, 10 PM Heather & the Barbarians at Banjo Jim’s
10/4 11:30 AM-ish Isle of Klezbos at City Winery klezmer brunch
10/5, 9 PM Paul Wallfisch/Matt Kanelos/Pete Galub/Mel Lederman/Sally Norvell at Small Beast at the Delancey
10/6, 2 PM Daria Rabotkina, piano plays Bach, Feruccio Busoni and Sergei Prokofiev at Merkin Concert Hall $15.
10/6, 7 PM Jenny Scheinman at Barbes followed by Slavic Soul Party at 9
10/7, 5 (five) PM noir British rocker Adam Masterson plays a rare NYC date at the Rockwood
10/7–10/8 at the Jazz Standard the Joe Martin Quartet featuring Mark Turner, Brad Mehldau & Marcus Gilmore: Mark Turner – tenor; Brad Mehldau – piano; Joe Martin – bass; Marcus Gilmore – drums, sets 7:30/9:30, $25
10/7, 9ish at the Bell House Basia Bulat, $10 adv tix rec.
10/7 delta blues mama Mamie Minch at Spikehill, 10 PM
10/8 8 PM the Asylum St. Spankers at the Highline Ballroom gen adm $25
10/8 violinist/composer Skye Steele and his shapeshifting, amazingly tuneful Quartet at Tea Lounge in Gowanus/Park Slope, Brooklyn 11ish
10/9, 8 PM the Maeandros Ensemble, led by the brilliant oud player/vocalist Marvothi Kontanis with Lefteris Bournias, violinist Megan Gould, and percussionist Seido Salifoski., at Symphony Space $25
10/9 hilarious hip-hop party animals Chronikill at Bowery Poetry Club 10 PM.
10/9 10 PM Meta & the Cornerstones at Drom $10
10/9 Buru Style plays roots reggae at Shrine uptown, 10 PM
10/9, 8 PM Lee Feldman at Banjo Jim’s followed at 9 by Daniel Harnett and then at 10:30 by the incomparable Amy Allison.
10/9, 10 PM Pinataland at Barbes
10/9, 9 PM anthemic, artsy, smart art-rockers New Madrid play the Castle in Hell, 842 Myrtle Ave., Ft. Greene, Brooklyn, G to Myrtle-Willoughby.
10/9 the perennially refreshing, romantic and effervescent Moonlighters at Two Boots Brooklyn, 9 PM
10/9–10/11 at the Jazz Standard Dafnis Prieto’s “Si o Si” Quartet – who just recorded their live cd here – Peter Apfelbaum – tenor saxophone; Manuel Valera – piano; Charles Flores – bass; Dafnis Prieto – drums, sets 7:30/9:30, $30/$25 Sun.
10/10, time TBA, Steve Severin of Siouxsie & the Banshees in a rare solo show – probably his ambient electronic stuff – at le Poisson Rouge, $20.
10/10, 7 PM NYC noir rock legend LJ Murphy at Banjo Jim’s
10/10 multistylistic Cuban expat songwriter Alex Cuba at Highline Ballroom 8 PM $15
10/10 Miller’s Farm play Rodeo Bar, 10:30 PM
10/11 multistylistic rock goddess Jenifer Jackson at the Rockwood, 8 PM
10/12 a killer ska night at Trash with Across the Aisle, Hey Stranger, the Duppies and the NYC Ska Jazz Ensemble, show starts at 8:30 PM
10/12, 9 PM violinist/composer Rebecca Cherry, Paul Wallfisch of Botanica, highly regarded former Rasputina cellist Julia Kent, and spectacular noir chanteuse Carol Lipnik at Small Beast at the Delancey
10/12 avant pianists Sarah Cahill and Rachel Grimes play le Poisson Rouge, time TBA $12
10/12 the Republic Tigers at Union Hall 8:30 PM $8 adv tix rec.
10/12 Paul Wallfisch and Carol Lipnik at Small Beast at the Delancey 9 PM
10/12 9:30 PM at Joe’s Pub an alluring evening of non-traditional instruments with Kamikaze Ground Crew’s Gina Leishman performing glass and percussion duos with drummer Kenny Wollesen, followed by the literally entrancing Electric Junkyard Gamelan and their homemade instruments.
10/13 Moisturizer’s last-ever show is at the Knitting Factory, time tba, stay tuned. NYC’s funnest band is breaking up since bassist Moist Gina is moving to the Murder City (she’s also in the Detroit Cobras). Don’t miss this one because there won’t be any more.
10/13 cellist Marika Hughes at 7 at Barbes followed by the multistylistic gypsish Brass Messengers at 9.
10/14 Sarah Lov at 8:30 at the Mercury followed eventually at 10:30ish by Sea Wolf, adv tix $12 rec.
10/14 the dark rustic Frankenpine at Lakeside 9 PM
10/14 fiery hypnotic haunting Persian-American rocker Haale and her trio at Southpaw 9:30ish
10/14 Susquehanna Industrial Tool and Die Co. play clever subtly very funny retro pre-rockabilly sounds at Rodeo Bar, 10:30 PM
10/15 one of this era’s great songwriters, Mary Lee’s Corvette frontwoman Mary Lee Kortes in a rare live duo show with Mellencamp’s lead guitar monster Andy York at Lakeside, 7 (seven) PM.
Starting on 10/15 it’s a good weekend for gypsy music and brass bands with the Bonk festival. 10/15 at Santos Party House they have a sliding scale admission (?), $5-10 for an amazing bill with Rude Mechanical Orchestra, Veveritse, Pink Puffers, Environmental Encroachment, Yellow Hat Band, special guests. See below for other shows.
10/15 Hungarian jazz star Marianna Falusi at the Neue Galerie’s Café Sabarsky, 1048 Fifth Avenue (at 86th Street), prix fixe $110 pp includes 7 PM dinner and 9 PM show. “Falusi takes her inspiration for this performance from Kati Marton’s acclaimed book The Great Escape, which tells the story of nine visionary Hungarian men who fled anti-Semitism in the wake of the Second World War and changed American culture forever.” Part of the Extremely Hungary festival.
10/15 hilarious, tuneful Canadian powerpopmeister Joel Plaskett at Union Hall
10/15, 8 PM at the Bell House, Marcellus Hall, Dawes and then Langhorne Slim, guessing at around 10, $15
10/15, 8 PM Wet Coma does their funny 70s metal spoof at Arlene’s
10/15 jazz/Americana guitar monster Matt Munisteri at Barbes 10 PM
10/15 surreal bluespunks the Five Points Band at Rodeo Bar, 10:30 PM
10/15 the Voxys play amazingly authentic retro 60s garasge R&B in the style of the Pretty Things at Trash, midnight
10/16, 8 PM Pre-Walkathon Party for Develop Don’t Destroy Brooklyn at Freddy’s featuring London punk rock legends the Spunk Lads and the John Sharples Band, comedian Pat O’Shea, Judy Gorman, Steve Espinola, Neil deMause and special guests
10/16 an intriguing doublebill at Union Hall, $12 adv tix: at 8 PM Sarah Lov plays dark poignant midtempo literate art-rock ballads – she sounds like someone who would like to be Aimee Mann but doesn’t know who Aimee Mann is because Mann was born before 1980. Is that too harsh? Followed by Port O’Brien who ruin some good tunes with a deliberately artless offkey indie vibe, and then at 10 the catchy, artsy, anthemic, Nick Cave-inflected Sea Wolf.
10/16 more Bonk festival Balkan brass madness: the “Brooklyn Brassacre,” 8 to 11 at Lulu’s, 113 Franklin Avenue, corner of Greenpoint Avenue, Brooklyn with Stumblebum Brass Band, Yellow Hat Band, Environmental Encroachment, hosted by Sarah Blust and Sully Ross of Rude Mechanical Orchestra; 10-2 AM at Coco 66, 66 Greenpoint Avenue, Brooklyn, performances by Raya Brass Band, Pink Puffers, Hungry March Band, Circus Amok Band. Hosted by Samantha La Cymbalina of Hungry March Band.
10/16 for drunken classical types: 8 PM at the Gershwin Theatre, East 27th a night of beer-drinking chamber music, $15 includes free beer. “The concert features German chamber music for all different ensembles including: Brahms Waltzes for 4-hands, German oompa oompa music for clarinets, the Mendelssohn Octet, ‘Ein Prosit’ (traditional German drinking song), among many more! It’s a melange of players, styles, and did we mention FREE BEER?”
10/16, 8 PM Throat Songs & Drums: the Khoomei-Taiko Ensemble at Symphony Space $25
10/16-18 at the Jazz Standard the Ben Allison Band: Jenny Scheinman – violin; Shane Endsley – trumpet; Steve Cardenas – guitar; Ben Allison – bass; Rudy Royston – drums, sets 7:30/9:30, $25 / $30 Friday & Saturday
10/16 Mames Babaganush play Middle Eastern, Balkan and similarly eerie gypsy-inflected stuff at Zebulon, 9:30ish
10/16 Demolition String Band play fiery electrified bluegrass and other twang at Rodeo Bar, 10:30 PM
10/16 Bellman Barker play catchy upbeat 60s style psychedelia in the vein of the Move at Trash, 11 PM
10/16 the Boss Guitars play surf classics and obscurities at Lakeside, 11 PM
10/17, 5 PM at Barbes a free screening of the documentary film Fados, a look at the Portuguese fado scene and its stars. Followed by the haunting, slinky, danceable, Arab-inflected East African dance band Sounds of Taraab at 8 PM.
10/17, 7:30 PM at the Third St. Music School Settlement: Alexis Sykes, violin and chamber ensemble playing Vivaldi’s Four Seasons plus Villa-Lobos: Piano Trio
10/17 11 PM the Bottle Rockets at the Mercury $15
10/17 Spanking Charlene, NYC’s answer to X at Lakeside, 11 PM
10/18, 3 PM, here’s one for all you fans of obscure baroque music: Elaine Comparone, harpsichord & the Queen’s Chamber Band perform “CPE REDUX: The Return of the Berlin Bach” at St. Mark’s Church in-the-Bowery 131 East 10th Street (at Second Avenue), $20/$10 stud/musicians/srs
10/18, 8 PM Bobtown followed by L’il Mo & the Monicats at Spikehill
10/19, 7 PM at Barbes Pamelia Kurstin, “the uncontested master of the theremin” followed around 9:45 by Chicha Libre, the uncontested masters of fun and revelry
10/19 7:30 PM jazzy guitarist/chanteuse Marta Topferova plays the cd release show for her new one Trova at Joe’s Pub, $15 gen adm, early arrival advised.
10/19, 7:30 PM at the Bell House lots of innovative big band jazz with Darcy James Argue’s Secret Society, Industrial Jazz Group and Travis Sullivan’s Bjorkestra, $15
10/20 CMJ means Colossal Musical Joke – but hidden amid the usual posers and losers are a handful of gems, see below…
10/20 composer/keyboardist Missy Mazzoli’s haunting, atmospheric, often brilliantly minimalist new-music/rock band Victoire at the Stone, 10 PM
10/21–10/25 at the Jazz Standard Joshua Redman – tenor and soprano saxophones; Matt Penman – bass; Gregory Hutchinson – drums, sets 7:30/9:30, $35 / $37.50 Friday & Saturday. Can you believe – a trio show in this sonically pristine, laid-back setting? A real treat if there ever was.
10/21, 10 PM at Spikehill the retro 80s Cure-influenced (but good) female-fronted goth/pop/jangle band Demander
10/21 the adventurous Dither guitar quartet at the Stone, 10 PM
10/21-23 Richard Thompson at City Winery is SOLD OUT.
10/22 Small Beast presents a very rare CMJ show worth seeing starting at around 7:15 at the Delancey with Pete Drungle & Pamelia Kurstin followed at 8 by Call Me Kat; 8:45, it’s dark songwriter Spottiswoode; 9:30, clever carnivalesque rocker Thomas Truax; 10:15 piano mastermind Paul Wallfisch from Botanica; at 11, David J (with members of Botanica doing a special pre-Halloween set featuring select covers and David J/Bauhaus originals); at 11:45 Crash & Burn and at half past midnight the charismatic, noir Reid Paley.
10/22 the aptly titled Surfer Blood play a free show at the Suffolk (107 Suffolk betw Delancey/Rivington), 10 PM – the promoters want you to know that you don’t have to worry about dealing with any stupid CMJ badges or bs and it’s a free show
10/22, 8 PM at Barbes the Michael Winograd Klezmer Trio followed at 10 by Andy Statman ($10 cover).
10/22, 8 PM there’s an all-new, typically hilarious and apropos Citizens Band show, “The Debt Rattle” going through the 24th the Abrons Arts Center, 466 Grand Street on the LES
10/22 the fun, rustic, spot-on satirical banjo band Tall Tall Trees at Bowery Electric, 8 PM
10/22 a killer country doublebill at Rodeo Bar, 9ish with the Jack Grace Band and Luther Wright and the Wrongs, dunno who’s first but they’re equally good
10/22, 10 PM Steven Bernstein’s Millennial Territory Orchestra at 55 Bar
10/22 Brooklyn’s own haunting, otherworldly Bulgarian vocal quartet Black Sea Hotel 11ish at Joe’s Pub adv tix $15 highly rec.
10/23, 8 PM at Barbes lush, romantic, sly French chanson revivalists Les Chauds Lapins and then at 10 the Jug Addicts
10/23, 8 PM Bassam Saba & The New York Arabic Orchestra at Symphony Space $25 – the best Arab orchestra in the US, with Naji Youssef and Salma Marjieh on guest vocals.
10/23, 7 PM, 8 cellists in concert (!!!) playing the Brandenburg Concerto #3, Villa-Lobos and Emily Hope Price (who plays the concert with her 7 colleagues), tix $20, under 18 free at the Advent Lutheran Church, 93rd and Broadway.
10/23, 9 PM at North Fourth Bar in Williamsburg (right next to San Loco, off Bedford) a fun latin dance party night with La Potencia Tipica de Belarminio Liriano playing super fun merengue tipico, only, $3, 9ish
10/23 at the Gramercy Theatre Sxip Shirey of Luminescent Orchestrii and human beatbox Adam Matta, then the lush, haunting, romantic pan-Latin harmony group las Rubias Del Norte and fiery, rustic Americana headliners the Wiyos playing their cd Broken Land Bell in its entirety, show starts 9 PM.
10/23, 10 PM a very rare acoustic show by the excellent, fiery Americana rockers the Sloe Guns at Recoup, Rivington off of Pitt. Frontman Eric Alter is also playing Monica Passin’s songwriter’s thing on Sunday at 8:30.
10/23, the clever, edgy, lyrical Tris McCall of Overlord (one of the few extant music writers who can actually write a good song) plays a full band show of stuff from the reputedly excellent, forthcoming Let the Night Fall at Maxwell’s, 10:30 PM, $10
10/24 we usually avoid CMJ shows because they almost always suck, but here’s one that doesn’t – at Bruar Falls (the old Lucky Cat space in Williamsburg) careening, powerful all-female rockers Beluga play sometime in the afternoon (1-ish?) followed sometime around 4 by another intriguing, noisy band, Renminbi. This is an all-ages show with $3 bloody marys from noon-1 PM.
10/24 brilliant, deviously tuneful, mulstistylistic cellist/art-rocker/siren Serena Jost plays her video release show at the Gershwin Hotel, 8 PM, two sets plus FREE WINE.
10/24, 8 PM at Barbes Ljova and the Kontraband play haunting cinematic sometimes gypsy and tango-flavored exotic Russian string band instrumentals
10/24, 8 PM the amazingly phantasmagorical Carol Lipnik and Spookarama with the equally amazing Dred Scott on keys at The Black Box Theater – it’s a double bill with Jane LeCroy and Transmitting – 308 West 133rd Street (east of St. Nicholas), $10.
10/24 Simon & the Bar Sinisters play ferociously virtuosic, hilarious rockabilly, surf, punk and roots at Lakeside, 10:15ish, 2 sets
10/25, 7 PM at Barbes the Ben Holmes Trio followed at 9 by “a special benefit for the Brooklyn Zen Center featuring EJ Fry (Raya Brass Band, Anistar, Ansambl Mastika, Veveritse Brass Band), Skye Steele (Anistar, Nation Beat), Harvey Valdez (Anistar, The Quick And The Deadly), and Rich Stein (Which Way East, etc.)”
10/25, 8:30-10:30 at Banjo Jim’s ex-Monicat bluegrass siren Monica Passin, ex-Fordfalconblue twangster and Americana rocker Richard Wallace and his former bandmate (and current Sloe Guns leader) Eric Alter and others in the round at Banjo Jim’s.
10/26 alternately ferocious and atmospheric cello rockers Blues in Space at the Rockwood, 8 PM.
10/26 the Vanilla Queen of Soul, the ageless Joy Ryder – sort of a punk-era Sharon Jones – at Otto’s, 10ish with an all-star soul band.
10/27, 7 PM Carol Lipnik & Spookarama at the Soho Playhouse, 15 Vandam St., C, E train to Spring St., tix only $6!
10/27, 8:30 PM System Noise followed at around 10 by Vera Beren’s Gothic Chamber Blues Ensemble. With Beren and Sarah Mucho out in front of their respective bands, there haven’t been two sirens this powerful on the same stage in maybe decades – if adrenaline, ferocious guitar and grand guignol are your thing, don’t miss this one. A Halloween show with free candy, you can probably eat enough to justify the ridiculously low $5 cover. Plus a sword-swallower.
10/27-11/1 the Ron Carter Trio featuring Mulgrew Miller & Russell Malone at the Blue Note $30 tables/$20 bar, sets 8/10:30 PM
10/27 fiery Balkan brass band Veveritse fills in for Slavic Soul Party at Barbes, 9 PM
10/28, 8 PM Spanish southwestern gothic rocker Depedro on an interesting doublebill with Argentine tango/reggae/pop sensation Federico Aubele at SOB’s.
10/28 first-class honkytonkers the Newton Gang at Lakeside 9 PM
10/28 roots/Americana guitar god Eric Ambel and the Roscoe Trio at Rodeo Bar, 10:30 PM
10/29 Deb the powerful incisive lead guitarist from psychedelic power trio Devi does a benefit show for animals at factory farms (battering rams to open the gates and let the poor cows and piggies loose?) at Kenny’s Castaways, 7 PM, $10 to a good cause.
10/29 at the Bell House, 7:30 PM a “masquerade charity ball benefiting the Abeona House of New Orleans” with live performances by the High & Mighty Brass Band, Rev. Vince Anderson, Vic Thrill, Les San Culottes and others.
Starting 10/29 Taylor Mac’s epic extravaganza The Lily’s Revenge – a lily goes on a quest to wed a human bride and destroy the God of Nostalgia, approximate duration 5 hours!!! – with music by the incomparable Rachelle Garniez runs through November 22nd at Here Arts Center, 145 6th Ave. at Dominick (across the park, downstairs, west side of the street).
10/29-11/1 at the Jazz Standard: Go Home featuring Charlie Hunter – guitar; Curtis Fowlkes – trombone; Ben Goldberg – clarinet; Scott Amendola – drums,sets 7:30/9:30, $25 / $30 Friday & Saturday
10/29 hilariously smart early 50s style hillbilly trio Susquehanna Industrial Tool & Die Co. at Otto’s 8:30 PM
10/29 ferocious postpunk rockers Des Roar – the guys and girl responsible for Ted Bundy Was a Ladies Man – at the Cameo Gallery in Williamsburg 9 PM
10/29, 10 PM ferociously good, adrenalizing pan-Balkan rockers Ansambl Mastika at Barbes.
10/30, 8 PM an especially good Halloween show with the haunting, hypnotic, incantatory Italian percussionist Alessandra Belloni and her slinky dance/music troupe I Giullari Di Piazza (The Court Jesters) at Symphony Space, tix $25/18 stud.
10/30 sprawling psychedelic surf rockers Yukonaughtica at 8:30 PM at Pier 66 Maritime, West Side Highway corner of 26th Street, free, costumes welcome but not required
10/30 oldtimey siren Kelli Rae Powell’s cd release show for her hilarious and haunting new one at the Jalopy Theatre, 9ish.
10/30 10 PM Witches in Bikinis play their annual Halloween show at Bowery Poetry Club, how perfect – the horror-rock supergroup are hilarious.
10/30 Cypress Hill’s annual Halloween concert at the Nokia Theatre, $36 adv tix recommended for all you weedheads.
10/30-31 at Smoke Jazz Club pianist David Berkman plays the cd release for his new live cd – which th NY Times raved about – with Antonio Hart – alto saxophone; Ed Howard – bass; Ted Poor drums.
10/30 the reliably charming, harmony-driven but edgy steampunk stars the Moonlighters at 10 at Barbes
10/30 the Delphian Jazz Orchestra at Tea Lounge in Gowanus/Park Slope, Brooklyn 11ish
10/31 at 3 PM, repeating 11/1 also at 3 PM the Chelsea Symphony plays the second concert series of the orchestra’s fourth season feat. Chelsea Symphony horn player Benjamin Brody’s Prelude and double bassist Tim Kiah’s Rise from the Ashes, Arthur Pryor’s Blue Bells of Scotland (with trombonist Alexis Regazzi), Mussorgsky’s Night on Bald Mountain, and Saint-Saens’ Dance Macabre together with excerpts from the last act of Mozart’s Don Giovanni led by Music Director Miguel Campos Neto and Mark Seto. At St Paul’s Church, 315 West 22nd St (between 8th and 9th Aves).. Recommended donation at the door: $20.
10/31 another good Halloween choice, reliably amusing hip-hop dude Tim Fite at Union Hall, 9ish
10/31 platinum-haired chanteuse/provocateuse Tammy Faye Starlite’s latest sick cover band, the Pretty Babies play Blondie’s Parallel Lines in its entirety at Lakeside, 11 PM. Check out this lineup: Tammy Faye plus Mony “The Falconess” Falcone (Sit ‘N’ Spin, BIG) on bass; Bibi Farber (The Richard Lloyd Group, The Ventilators) on keyboards; Heidi Leib (Sit ‘n” Spin, the Lonesome Prairie Dogs) on lead guitar; Linda Pitmon (Steve Wynn’s Miracle 3, The Baseball Project & The Minus 5) on drums; Jill Richmond (The Aquanettas, The Mean Reds) on rhythm guitar.
10/31 saxopohonist/composer/rabbi Greg Wall’s 50th birthday mega event at Sixth Street Community Synagogue, 325 E. Sixth Street (between 1st Ave. and 2nd Ave.) featuring Wall performing with the stars of the klezmer and avant-Jewish jazz underground, incl. Later Prophets, the Unity Orchestra, Klezmerfest, members of Hasidic New Wave, Gary Lucas and special guests
10/31 World Inferno at the grand ballroom at Manhattan Center $25 all ages, adv tix available at the Mercury
10/31 8:30ish the King Khan & BBQ Show at the Bell House, $15
10/31 the Mess Around at Rock Star Bar in Williamsburg 10 PM
10/31 Americana juggernaut the Woes 11 PM at Spikehill
10/31 a wild ouzo-fueled Greek dance party with the hellraising Magges at Teneleven, 11 PM, free, it doesn’t get much better than this
10/31, midnight-9 AM, a Halloween party with live music by the ecstatic and haunting Balkan brass monsters Raya Brass Band plus a bar serving absinthe, face painters, fortune tellers, silver film photography, and breakfast at 7. $15 at the door before 2 AM, RSVP for Brooklyn address for the “Brooklyn Sanctuary” somewhere in “Prospect Heights.”
11/1, 6 PM at Barbes “guitarist and composer Jay Vilnai once again joins Whitney George and Nicholas Nelson to host an evening of chamber works presented by emerging composers and performers. The new series, entitled ‘Look at the Birdie’, will have its first performance Compositions include Vilnai’s ‘Unsuspected Turns on the Path’ for flute, oboe, violin and percussion and George’s ‘Stained Glass’ for flute violin and percussion. Electronic works will include Nelson’s ;Solipisisms’ for trmobine and electronics and Vilnai’s ‘Double 6’s’.”
11/1, 11 PM Black Heart Procession at Bowey Ballroom, $15 gen adm.
11/4 Gil Scott-Heron at BB King’s 8 PM $30 adv tix rec.
11/4 the increasingly Tom Waitsish, smartly literate, funny Maynard & the Musties at Lakeside 9 PM
11/5, 8 PM the International Pop Overthrow at Kenny’s Castaways with Edward Rogers and Pete Kennedy with Ward White, Joe McGinty, Claudia Chopek and Ira Elliot as bandmates, plus Maura Kennedy and George Usher and The Doughboys
11/5 jazz guitar legend Gene Bertoncini at the Jazz Standard, $25, sets 7:30/9:30, reservations highly recommended.
11/5 Ellen Foley at Lakeside 9 PM
11/6 smart female-fronted psychedelic rock trio Devi at their new private space in Jersey City, details TK, free
11/6 Simon & the Bar Sinisters at Lakeside 10:15ish
11/6-8 the Extremely Hungary Samizdat Music Festival at le Poisson Rouge and La Mama
11/7 2:30 (two thirty) PM the catchy Wilco-meets-the-Clash Brixton Riot at Kenny’s Castaways
11/7, 8 PM menacing, tuneful noir rockers Darren Gaines & the Key Party and deliriously fun Japanese gypsy band Kagero at the Gershwin Hotel, 7 East 27th Street (5th/Madison), all ages, $10, free wine bar (21+)
11/7, 8 PM Cudzoo & the Faggettes at Ars Nova Theatre, 54th & 10th Ave., perfect venue for these filthy theatrical rock sirens-slash-retro 60s pop satirists. They promise can’t-miss new video footage at this one…hmmm…! They’re also at Bar Matchless in Williamsburg on Dec 3.
11/7, 9 PM the dark haunting hypnotic powerhouse Katie Elevitch (back from another triumphant European tour) downstairs at her M’Sonic Sessions series at the The Brooklyn Masonic Temple, 317 Clermont Avenue, 3rd Floor, Fort Greene
11/7 the ferociously good, intense, Radio Birdman-esque punk/garage rockers the Mess Around 9 PM at Don Pedro’s
11/7 the amusing, laid-back Americana duo Two Man Gentlemen Band at the Jalopy, 9ish
11/8 a killer Americana afternoon starting at 3 PM at Spikehill with smart, catchy bluegrass innovators Frankenpine, the oldschool honkytonking Newton Gang, the soaring Alana Amram & the Rough Gems and the funniest man in country music, Uncle Leon & the Alibis headlining around 5.
11/8 powerpop powerhouse Patti Rothberg at Otto’s, 11 PM with her excellent band.
11/10, 8 PM at BB King’s Capleton, Cocoa Tea and Anthony B $30 adv tic rec.
11/10 smoove oldschool hip-hop with Ice Cube’s little bro Warren G at Bowery Ballroom, 9ish, $20 gen adm
11/11 southwestern gothic rocker Tom Shaner at Lakeside 9 PM.
11/12 deviously virtuosic, exuberant mostly-female klezmer rockers Isle of Klezbos at 7PM at Holy Apostles Church, 296 Ninth Ave at 28th St, $10
11/12, 10 PM Spanglish Fly mixes up mambo and Motown to make Latin soul in the Joe Cuba boogaloo tradition at Camaradas El Barrio, 2241 1st Ave (115th St.) dirt cheap, $5 – free boogaloo lessons for neophytes.
11/13, 8 PM at the Bell House, Brooklyn’s own forro/ska/reggae/funk baccchanal Nation Beat open the show followed by the genre-bending, gypsyish latin hellraisers Rupa & The April Fishes
11/13 “Brooklyn’s #1 regressive rock act”, hilarious metal parody band Mighty High‘s 7″ release show at Hank’s
11/14 Shonen Knife at Maxwell’s $12 adv tix very highly recommended; 11/17 at the Brooklyn Bowl
11/14 the Brooklyn What at Bar Matchless in Williamsburg 9ish
11/15, 3 (three) PM the Antara Ensemble plays at Saint Andrew’s Episcopal Church, 2065 Fifth Avenue at 127th Street: Leos Janácek’s Idyll for String Orchestra, W. A. Mozart’s Concerto for Flute and Harp in C Major, K. 299, Antonio Vivaldi’s Concerto for Two Violins & Cello in D minor, and the World Premiere of Richard Spencer’s Fantasie on a Hymn for Flute & String Orchestra. Tix $25/$20 stud/srs.
11/19 the incomparable, inscrutable, multistylistic Jenifer Jackson at the Rockwood at 8.
11/20, 8 PM jangly Boston rockers Aloud and then moody, haunting groove/downtempo slinks El Jezel at Spikehill
11/20 surf music classics and obscurities with the Boss Guitars at Lakeside 11 PM
11/20 the Brooklyn What at Trash Bar 11 PM
11/21 Black 47 at Connolly’s, also 11/28, 12/5, 12/12, and New Years Eve
11/21, 8 PM Portuguese fado legend Mariza at Carnegie Hall with special guests Afro-Peruvian vocalist Eva Ayllón and Afro-Cuban pianist Gonzalo Rubalcaba $25 tix available.
11/21, 8 PM The New York Chamber Players’ fundraiser at Bechstein Concert Hall, 207 West 58th St., music by Mozart, feat. piano virtuoso Karine Poghosyan
11/21 ferociously haunting, danceable pan-Balkan rockers Ansambl Mastika at Shrine uptown, 8 PM
11/21 Lights and Alana Amram & the Rough Gems (watch Alana on bass and then guitar – or vice versa) at Union Pool
11/21 Spanking Charlene at Lakeside 11 PM
11/23 three of the most powerful sirens in any style of music: grand guignol powerhouse Vera Beren, retro keyboard/vocal genius Rachelle Garniez – whose previous two albums are the #2 and #3 cd’s of the decade according to our Best Songs of the Zeros list – and the phantasmagorical Carol Lipnik at Small Beast at the Delancey. Show starts at 9 with Lipnik followed by Garniez, then the dazzlingly lyrical retro 60s psychedelic pop band McGinty & White at 10:30, and then Beren headlining. Definitely the best show of the year and we won’t even be there, sob!
11/27 a rare live show by legendary mod punk Dog Show frontman Jerome O’Brien at Lakeside 11 PM
11/28 Tom Shaner at Lakeside 11 PM
11/30, starting 8:30ish the artsy Pharmacy & Gardens, then the master of menace, Botanica frontman Paul Wallfisch at the keys, the twangy southwestern gothic of And the Wiremen and then atmospheric noir soundtrack songs with Bee & Flower at 11ish at Small Beast at the Delancey.
12/1-2 trumpet powerhouse Ingrid Jensen with a quintet and then quartet at Jazz Standard, $20, sets 7:30/9:30 PM
12/3-6 the Chano Domínguez Flamenco Quintet including vox and dancer at the Jazz Standard, $30, sets 7:30/9:30 PM. At the Spanish jazz festival here last spring the pianist was haunting, even transcendent – this is something you shouldn’t miss.
12/4, 8 PM the NY Chamber Players play Beethloven’s 6th Symphony and Shostakovich’s Piano Concerto No 2 with pianist Luigi Fracasso at Christ & St.Stephen Church, 122 W 69th St.
12/8, 7:30/9:30 PM, legendary jazz percussionist/bandleader Chico Hamilton at the Jazz Gallery where he’ll be performing tracks off of his latest album Twelve Tones of Love (recently reviewed here, very favorably) with his quintet Euphoria.
12/10–12/13 the Tango Meets Jazz Festival with the Pablo Ziegler Quartet with special guests Miguel Zenon (12/10 & 12/11) and David Sanchez (12/12 & 12/13) at the Jazz Standard, $30, sets 7:30/9:30 PM
12/12 a real blast from the past, 80s new wave rockers That Petrol Emotion at the Bell House, 7:30 PM, $17 adv tix rec.
12/22–12/23 the Edmar Castaneda Trio plus Special Guest Joe Locke at the Jazz Standard. You want eclectic and innovative? Can’t miss with this crew: Colombian harp, trombone, drums and vibes, $20 sets 7:30/9:30 PM
As regulars here know by now, Lucid Culture HQ is undergoing some big renovations and for that reason we have to leave this site more or less in limbo until about the middle of October when we return with more of the stuff you may have grown accustomed to: the NYC live music calendar, cd and concert reviews, Song of the Day and our Tuesday Top Ten Songs list. This will also serve as a test of sorts to see how much traffic we get while there’s not much going on here. In the meantime, here are the songs of the day that we’d scheduled to appear, a new one every day through October 15, 2009 as the countdown to #1 on the Top 666 Songs of Alltime list continues. If this isn’t enough to satisfy your curiosity, look around a little, browse the index above and we’ll be back before you know it.
304. Joy Division – Walked in Line
“All dressed in uniforms so fine/They drank and killed to pass the time/Wearing the shame of all their crimes/With measured steps they walked in line.” Nazis as metaphor for conformity as a whole, stepping to a ridiculously simple, potent descending punk riff. An early, 1977-era song released on the posthumous 1981 Still lp, available in a ridiculous number of live and studio versions: peek around.
303. Dick Dale – Misirlou
The lefty guitar genius and surf music pioneer is Lebanese-American and probably heard this iconic Greek melody as a kid in the 50s. Nice to see him healthy again and back on the road. New York Greek party rockers Magges also do a tremendously fun version.
302. The Dog Show – If I Laugh Anymore I’ll Break
Blistering and catchy, sort of a cross between the Dead Boys and 50s R&B. One of the more obscure tracks here, this is on a rare ep by the NYC mod punks from 2003 or so and well worth seeking out, whether on a live bootleg (they exist) or otherwise.
301. Elvis Costello – Riot Act
One of Steve Nieve’s finest, most poignant moments in the band with all those hauntingly restrained piano arpeggios. From Get Happy, 1980; mp3s are everywhere.
300. The Grateful Dead – Days Between
Every now and then, Jerry and co. would pull out the gravitas and this is a prime, extremely poignant example from right before the end, an elegiac epic that in its dark, determined way might just be their best song. Not that it really mattered, but the Dead never released it during their lifetime as either a studio or live recording. So you need to go to dead.net or archive.org, where this 12-minute gem resides in several places.
299. The Go-Betweens – You Can’t Say No Forever
Haunting, percussive janglerock cautionary tale about the dangers of succumbing to the lure of marriage. An apt companion piece to the Fun Boy Three’s Tunnel of Love…and a million blues and country songs. It doesn’t sound much like anything the artsy New Zealand pop band ever did before or after. From 16 Lovers’ Lane, 1989; mp3s are everywhere.
298. The Rolling Stones – Black Limousine
A poignant requiem for a good time, Ron Wood’s warmly fluid blues solo one of his finest moments in the band over a neat hesitation-step series of basic blues changes. From Tattoo You, 1981; mp3s are everywhere, and don’t be shy about downloading it because like all major label releases, this one will never make the band any more money. Not that they need it anyway. The link above is a spirited live version from the tour of the same year.
297. Telephone – Au Coeur de la Nuit
The title translates as “heart of the night,” which to songwriter Jean-Louis Aubert’s credit transcends cliche here. One of the most iconic songs in French rock, it’s a blistering requiem, title track from the Parisian rockers’ 1981 lp. Which you can download all over the place; the link above is a careening live version from German tv.
296. Zager & Evans – In the Year 2525
OK, some of you may find this cheesy and over-the-top. But we think the 1969 one-hit wonder is spooky in a psychedelic California Dreaming kind of way. Whatever you think, the video above is hilarious – and it screams out for someone with a little more depth to cover the song and bring out all its apocalyptic angst. By the way, the song was a last-minute addition to the band’s first album (if you find it, pick it up, it’s rare). Available for taping off your favorite oldies radio station as well as all over the web.
Arguably the iconic indie rock siren’s signature song, this is a bruised, towering anthem about being left behind. And the injustice and cruel irony of it. From her classic Solar Bipolar cd, 2000; the link in the title above is the considerably faster but still dangerous version from the Live at Sin-e album, 2005.
294. Amy Rigby – Rode Hard
Culture shock has seldom been more amusingly, or more poignantly portrayed: fearless big city girl goes south and she doesn’t understand the natives any better than they understand her. She might be jealous of their brightly lit homes and seemingly secure lives, but she’s not sure. And are there any eligible guys within a hundred mile radius? Is there one? From the Sugar Tree cd, 2000, which you could download, or you could get at her site, she’s an independent artist so none of your money will go to any sleazy record label exec.
293. Erika Simonian – Bitter & Brittle
Best song on the classic 2003 All the Plastic Animals cd by the NYC underground songwriter/chanteuse and Sprinkle Genies guitarist, grimly yet wittily contemplating a fullscale breakdown with one of her characteristically gemlike lyrics.
292. Elvis Costello – Love Went Mad
“Do you know how I feel? Do you have a heart, do you have a heart of iron and steel?” the King inquires with a savage amphetamine insistence. A fast, anthemic smash from Punch the Clock, 1983, driven by Steve Nieve’s incisively bright piano. Mp3s are everywhere.
291. Curtis Eller – After the Soil Fails
Apocalyptic opening track on the fiery NYC banjo rocker’s 2008 cd Wirewalkers & Assassins:
This time the dream is a Russian oil tanker
Fidel Castro and Cuban sugarcane
Richard Nixon’s having the same old nightmare
Jack Ruby’s black secret crawling up through the drain…
When the hurricanes finally take out New Orleans
And scarlet fever has finally left Philadelphia bare…
There’s a ghost that we remember hanging in the air
290. Ninth House – Your Past May Come Back to Haunt Me
Catchy, swaying Nashville gothic existentialist cautionary tale: “I know all your secrets,” frontman Mark Sinnis intones ominously. From Swim in the Silence, 2000.
289. Elena Zazanis – Stingray
The highly regarded indie film actress is also a terrific singer and songwriter, with a powerful alto wail and a haunting chromatic edge that reflect her Greek heritage. For a few years during the early part of the decade, she led a first-rate, dark New York powerpop band and this is their finest moment, a towering anthem vividly depicting a surreal nightmare scenario that doesn’t end well. Never recorded, although live bootlegs exist.
288. REM – Find the River
Arguably their best song, about as far from their indie roots as they ever got, lush and anthemic with a string section. It’s about getting old, and failure, and death. “All of this is coming your way.” From Automatic for the People, 1992. Click on the video in the link above.
For about a year the British rock press were all gaga over this lyrically brilliant, Costelloesque band who were one of the first to bring Afropop flourishes into rock. This is probably their most straight-up rock song, a bruising anthem about Albert Goldman’s hatchet-job John Lennon bio. From the Modern Times lp, 1985. The Pip Hoyle style organ solo out is luscious. Frontman Steve Skaith now fronts his own band, continuing to play and record intriguingly polystylistic, lyrical songs. The link in the title above is the stream at imeem.
286. Flash & the Pan – Restless
A few years after their legendary 60s garage-pop band the Easybeats had run its course, Australians Harry Vanda and George Young led this pioneering, truly extraordinary dark new wave studio project best known for their big 1979 hit Hey St. Peter. This apocalyptic number sets a haunting Middle Eastern melody to a fast, hypnotic dance beat, the lyrics as offhandedly disconcertingly as ever. From the classic Lights in the Night lp, 1980, more easily downloaded than you would think – the link above is a torrent.
285. The Room – Naïve
Best song on probably the best ep ever made, the Liverpool new wave legends’ 1985 release Jackpot Jack. This updates noir 60s pop with a jazzy tinge and haunting Hammond organ, Dave Jackson’s ominously breathy voice and characteristically biting lyrics. It’s also a great drinking song – who knew beer goggles could be so lyrical. Jackson and bassist Becky Stringer would carry on in the equally captivating Benny Profane and currently the Nashville gothic act the Dead Cowboys.
OK, one last post before we go into renovation mode: our top 666 songs of alltime countdown gets one step closer to #1 with Saturday’s song, #305:
Squeeze – This Summer
Love songs suck, don’t they? They’re supposed to be so evocative but 99% of the time they’re schlocky and maudlin and just put you in a hateful mood. Here’s a rare one that doesn’t, Glenn Tilbrook’s soaring melody vividly capturing the thrill of it all, the rush of finally getting with someone you’ve wanted to get with for a long time. It never lasts, of course. From the Ridiculous cd, 1995.
Tomorrow, we’ll be putting up a bunch more of these and then we’ll be back around the fifteenth of October. Sorry for the inconvenience and stay tuned, we’re very much looking forward to getting back up to speed!
Tetouan is sister city to Tangiers, and is historically connected with Granada across the water since this is where many Spanish Muslims and Jews fled the terror of the Inquisition. And they brought their music with them. In a concert that was heaven for early music fans, the Orchestra of Tetouan made their New York debut at Judson Memorial Church in the West Village a memorable one. Their repertoire is medieval Andalusian suites, eleven of which survive. With oud, violin, viola, kanun (hammered zither), tar (tambourine) and darbouka (hand drum), the six-piece ensemble ran through lengthy excerpts from four of them, taking up the better part of two hours and engaging what looked like a sold-out crowd enthusiastically when the pace picked up. From the audience response, much of the lyrically-driven material (sung rousingly and passionately in Arabic) has considerable cultural resonance.
What does it sound like? Like Palestrina with Middle Eastern instruments – no surprise that the adventurous revivalists Gotham Early Music co-produced the concert. The earliest Andalusian music has a definable western feel without the otherworldly overtones and chromatics that have come to characterize pretty much everything radiating from Jerusalem outward for the last several centuries. With a stately sway, pulsing along with the bassy boom of the darbouka, the group would go up from a central key for few steps in the major scale, then back down again and then work around the theme introduced by a brief instrumental overture. Polyphony and antiphony were joyously abundant. The group’s not-so-secret weapon is eighteen-year-old violinist/singer Brahim Idrissi, whose powerful baritone and impressive range dominated the mix. Oudist/bandleader Mehdi Chachoua, a leading Moroccan music scholar, took all of one taqsim (solo) all night and limited his embellishments to a few subtle slides. Likewise, kanun player Hicham Zubeiri’s taqsim could have been a Renaissance-era English reel if given a more straight-up rhythm.
Throughout the Arabic-speaking world, poetry is accorded a vastly higher space in the literary pantheon, and likewise far more of a role in daily life (the day that Bush invaded Iraq, the #1 bestseller there was a book of poetry). From the point of view of a non-Arabic speaker, the passion and longing voiced by all six singers translated viscerally, aided substantially by translations supplied in the program notes. The group concludes their American tour with shows tonight and tomorrow in Bloomington, Indiana; watch this space for upcoming NYC appearances.
Happy birthday Rama!
Through tomorrow, our top 666 songs of alltime countdown will get one step closer to #1. On Sunday, we’ll put up about two weeks’ worth of these songs all at once and then keep you in suspense until we return around the middle of October with more regular daily listings, reviews, controversy, hairsplitting, hair-tearing and so forth. For now, Friday’s song is #306:
American Ambulance – Ain’t Life Good
Hungover and unexpectedly transcendent Sunday morning tableau in the wake of a week of drudgery at some deadend dayjob unforgettably portrayed in these New York Americana rockers’ towering anthem. Nice soulful Erica Smith vocal cameo too. From the Streets of NYC cd, 2005.
Every day for the next few days, our top 666 songs of alltime countdown will get one step closer to #1. Around the 27th of this month, we’ll put up a whole bunch of them at once and keep you in suspense until we return with regular daily listings, review and so forth around the middle of October. For now, Thursday’s song is #307:
The Boomtown Rats – Diamond Smiles
Savage new wave/punk sarcasm from The Fine Art of Surfacing, 1979, the sarcastically glossy tale of a girl who had everything but did herself in. Sadly, the late Jay Bennett quoted a lyric from the song in the title of his final, unfinished album, Kicking at the Perfumed Air. The link above is the original video; here’s a live take.
The great thing about shows at the Greene Space is that many of them are broadcast live on WNYC and then archived at the station’s site, where you can find this particular one. That’s right, you don’t have to take our word for it, go right to WNYC and hear the amazing little set Rosanne Cash played this afternoon on Soundcheck with John Schaefer. She has a new album coming out titled The List, based on a hundred-song list her dad gave her when she was eighteen. “This was a guy who listened to everything, metal included,” Johnny Cash’s daughter took care to point out, but her dad’s compilation was basically Americana, a “musical genealogy,” she explained, a not-so-subtle hint for a teenager who up to that point had gravitated closer to the Beatles than to classic country. She’s done plenty of covers, but this will be her first all-covers album – and since there’ll still be ninety or so more songs on her dad’s list that she won’t have on this cd, a second volume seems likely as well.
Backed by a five-piece, electric two-guitar band who played the songs with unabashed relish, Cash soared wounded and sultry over her husband John Leventhal’s smartly counterintuitive countrypolitan arrangements. In the studio, she’s finely nuanced – live, there are few others (Jenifer Jackson is one) who can find so much emotional subtlety yet still pack such a wallop – if she’s been injured, you can tell from just a minute inflection of her voice where she’s been hit and what caliber the shell was. Yet her stage presence is casual and amusing, not bad for someone carrying a legacy that would crush plenty of other artists (in addition to her own: Black Cadillac is every bit as good as anything her dad ever did)
The Hank Snow standard Movin’ On swung casually but incisively, as did Jimmie Rodgers’ Miss the Mississippi. Sea of Heartbreak (a duet with Bruce Springsteen on the album) was understated in the tradition of the 1961 Don Gibson original. They wrapped up the set with Long Black Veil, Cash not bothering to change the lyrics to fit traditional gender roles – when she got to the end of the chorus, “nobody knows,” the intensity was something considerably beyond wrenching.
You can hear the complete show at WNYC, including some commentary by Bebel Gilberto (who has a new album out as well) and NPR critic Tom Moon – who seems to be a decently aware classical/jazz guy whose knowledge of rock ends right about 1976, the end of the boomer era – about music as a legacy for future generations.
We’ve been doing this every Tuesday – to cut down on the workload here while we attend to some infrastructure things, we meant to suspend the feature for awhile. Before we do, here’s this week’s top ten. As always, you’ll see this week’s #1 song on our 100 Best Songs of 2009 list at the end of December, along with maybe some of the rest of these too. This is strictly for fun – it’s Lucid Culture’s tribute to Kasey Kasem and a way to spread the word about some of the great music out there that’s too edgy for the corporate media and their imitators in the blogosphere. Every link here will take you to each individual song.
1. Bobby Vacant & the Weary – Never Looking Back
So far this is the best single song we’ve heard this year, a defiant look back on a checkered past. Suits us just fine. From the new cd.
We’re late in picking up on this snide classic by the Canadian powerpop rocker. He’s at Union Hall on 10/15.
3. Karine Poghosyan with the Kokolo String Ensemble – Haydn F Maj. Piano Concerto
The fiery pianist with an equally inspired chamber orchestra behind her.
4. Sarah Lov – Tell Me How
“It is all I ever feel, like nothing good is ever real,” she laments over a catchy Aimee Mann-esque midtempo anthem. She’s at Union Hall on 10/16 at 8.
5. Izzy and the Kesstronics – Hanging Death Waves
Izzy from Uncle Fucker on guitar plus a sax and rhythm section playing weird funny surf/garage/roots stuff. They’re at Beauty Bar in Bushwick on 9/27 at 9ish.
6. String Driven Thing – Suicide
Every now and then we run across a classic like this. This is from a reunion concert by the 70s art-rock cult favorites sometime in the 90s, a bitter, somewhat brutal graveside scene for a dead rocker:
The T in contract
The I in empire
The M in muzak
The E in Ex-Lax
The S in suicide
7. Erin Hill – Girl Inventor
Classical harpist who sounds absolutely nothing like Joanna Newsom playing psychedelic pop. More like Kate Bush actually.
8. The MK Groove Orchestra – MCP
Woozy, inventive groove-driven big band jazz. They’re at Spikehill on 9/26 at 10.
Danceable Japanese noise-rock with a real screamer on vocals, cool stuff.
10. Don’t Give Small Money Chance Brass Band – It Is Raining
Brooklyn big band playing horn music from Ghana! Pretty wild.
Every day for the next few days, our top 666 songs of alltime countdown will get one step closer to #1. Then we’ll put up a whole bunch of them at once and keep you in suspense until we return with regular daily listings, review and so forth around the middle of October. For now, Wednesday’s song is #308:
Pink Floyd – Dogs
Not only one of the great stoner songs of alltime but a characteristically magnificent, towering, practically sidelong antiwar epic. “Dragged down by the stone, stone, stone…” ad infinitum. Go ahead and download the 1977 Animals album somewhere if you haven’t already; if you want to hear it first, it’s on youtube in two sections here and then here.
Sometimes knowing a jazz group’s latest album before seeing them play from it is a complete waste of time. This time, it was like being handed a key to the secret back room where the party is always happening. A few years ago, guitarist Andrew Green spent some time on the disabled list with a busted wrist and he put the downtime to good use: he watched a lot of vintage film noir and wrote a lot of killer horn charts. The result was the album Narrow Margin (very favorably reviewed here recently), which is more of a homage to noir jazz from the 50s than it is an attempt to completely replicate the style. It’s full of mysterious twists and turns and catchy phrases, the kind of jazz album you find yourself humming as you walk down the street. And if you’re in the shadows, and it’s 4 AM and misty way over on the west side, all the better. Sunday night Green assembled most of the supporting cast who played on the album for a magical run through most of it.
Joining Green were his albummates Russ Johnson on trumpet and JC Sanford on trombone plus Noah Preminger subbing on tenor for Bill McHenry, with an inspired rhythm section of Kermit Driscoll on bass and Mike Sarin on drums. A lot of the songs slunk along with a latin pulse, and they nailed it. Watching the songs – and they are songs in the purest sense of the word – take shape was an apt reminder how cleverly and ingeniously Green composed them. Trumpet and trombone would weave and bob around each other while Green worked variations on the theme, often with a bracing tinge of natural distortion. Preminger got the chance to establish plenty of contrast against the suspense and occasional outright menace of the rest of the band and did it with a stunningly nuanced attack and an unassailable calm: as good as McHenry sounded on the cd, Preminger took it to the next level.
One of the oldest compositions, Miro, featured Driscoll working a finely honed, minimalist solo fleshed out with similar judiciousness by Green, sounding like an unconstrained, ballsier Joe Pass. Short Cut, with its wickedly catchy, four-note central riff was a clinic in the use of echo between horn players, Johnson’s trumpet perfectly evoking a blithe obliviousness as Green sputtered and threw off big dirty sparks underneath. Best song of the show was Midnight Novelette, a cinematic number if there ever was one, Green letting loose with a stinging volley of sixteenth notes after Johnson and then Sanford had built an indelibly nocturnal tableau. It was as if Bogart had been overheard at the bar, murmuring, “Play it again, guys.”