We have a new June-July calendar up now – click the link because this page is the old May-June one without all the updates. If you don’t recognize the place where a particular act is playing, check our venues page. If you didn’t see anything that tickled you this time around, you can always check back later since we incessantly get news about new shows and then add them here.
A few things you should know: acts are listed here in order of appearance, NOT headliner first and supporting acts after; showtimes listed here are actual set times, not the time doors open. If a listing here says something like ”9 PM-ish,” chances are it’ll run late. Cover charges are those listed on bands’ and venues’ sites: always best to click on the band link provided or go to the venues page for confirmation since we get much of this info weeks in advance. As always, weekly events first followed by the daily listings:
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. He’s something of an institution here, plan on arriving EARLY, 45 minutes early isn’t too soon since the whole bar gets packed fast. 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.
Sundays in May and June the Chico O’Farrill Jazz Orchestra at Birdland sets at 9/11 PM $30
Mondays at the Fat Cat the Choi Fairbanks 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, 8:30 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 plays a solo set on piano around 10 PM, reason enough to put this on your calendar. June artists include the phantasmagorical Carol Lipnik & Spookarama, ferociously charismatic gypsy rocker Vera Beren’s Gothic Chamber Blues Ensemble, cool noir rockers Darren Gaines & the Key Party, hypnotic soundscape instrumentalist Thomas Simon, big indie buzz band the Walking Hellos 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 in May 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 May 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 most charismatic, intense live performers of our time. Paula Henderson from Burnt Sugar is the lead soloist on baritone sax.
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 May the Dred Scott Trio play astonishingly smart, dark piano jazz at the Rockwood at midnight.
Wednesdays in May the self-explanatory and very entertaining Bato the Yugo & Gypsy Boogie at Mehanata 10 PM. They’re also at Nublu on Sundays at 9.
Every Thursday the Michael Arenella Quartet play 1920s hot jazz 8-11 PM at Nios, 130 W 46th St.
Every Friday in May at 8:30 PM at the Fat Cat Naomi Shelton & the Gospel Queens bring an authentic here-and-now Brooklyn church vibe, no slick theatrics, just soul.
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.
Fridays 5/14, 21, 28 Sister Sparrow & the Dirty Birds play edgy, funky bluesy stuff at the new second stage (where are they gonna put that, on the roof?) at the Rockwood, midnight.
5/1-2 at LaMama, 74A East Fourth Street Thur-Sat 8PM + Sun matinee 2:30; $18; Box Office (212) 475-7710: “Yara Arts Group will summon ancient epics and rituals from Ukraine and Kyrgyzstan for “Scythian Stones,” an original, experimental World Music Theatre piece with choreography, which will presented by La MaMa from April 16 to May 2. The piece, created by Virlana Tkacz, features famed Ukrainian singer Nina Matvienko, her daughter Tonia and artists from Kyrgyzstan. “Scythian Stones” constructs parallel journeys for two young women, from village life and nomadic tradition into the city. Their separate journeys become epic descents into the Great Below—the modern global desert where songs, skills and languages vanish, leaving behind only mute markers like the Scythian Stones found today throughout the grasslands of Ukraine and Central Asia. The production, staged by Virlana Tkacz and Watoku Ueno, will feature Ukrainian and Kyrgyz traditional music, as well as modern music, design and movement. Interweaving performances in Ukrainian, Kyrgyz and English, “Scythian Stones” remains completely accessible to American audiences.”
5/1 haunting, hypnotic Middle Eastern golden age film music revivalists Zikrayat play the cd release for their long-awaited new cd Cinematic at Barbes with an allstar Middle Eastern lineup: Shusmo at 6, Zikrayat themselves at 7 and Falu at 8, the entire show simulcast on 91.1 FM WFMU.
5/1, 8 PM sitarist Shujaat Husain Khan (son and disciple of the late Ustad Vilayat Khan) at Symphony Space, tix $30/$18 stud.
5/1, 8 PM ethereal, minimalist, gorgeously moody Americana duo Arborea at Northeast Kingdom, 18 Wyckoff Ave. in Bushwick, L to Jefferson St.
5/1 El Pueblo play latin reggae/dub at Shrine, 9 PM; 5/28 they’re at Local 269
5/1 the Spinal Tap of brass bands, the Stagger Back Brass Band at Union Pool 9 PM
5/1-4 at the Vanguard the Bill Frisell Trio with Eyvind Kang and Rudy Royston; 5/11-16 his quartet with Kang, Hank Roberts and Jenny Scheinman.
5/1, 10ish an oldschool rooftop soul party with the One and Nines – a more Memphis version of what Sharon Jones is doing – at 51 Pacific Ave at Caven Point Ave, Jersey City: also “all night DJ’s will be spinning vinyl records of R&B, Soul, Reggae, Rock & Roll, Hip-Hop, Doo-Wop, and anything else that’s funky (no disco or house, sorry…..)”
5/1 NYC’s best blues band, Delta Dreambox at Two Boots Brooklyn 10 PM.
5/1 the ferocious, funny, charismatic, musically diverse anti-gentrification rockers – 2010′s version of the Clash – the Brooklyn What at Don Pedro’s, 11ish.
5/1 Top Shotta (ten-piece dub reggae band with horn section!) at Rose Bar in Williamsburg, midnight-ish.
5/2 ecstatic, cinematic, clever pan-Balkan string band Ljova and the Kontraband at the Museum of Natural History at the Silk Road exhibit at 1:30, 2:30 and 3:30pm. If you haven’t seen the exhibition yet, this is a great chance – and go see them too. They’re also here on 6/6 and 6/13
5/2, 3 PM a fascinating afternoon of new music put together by piano firebrand Kathy Supove including new work by Paula Matthusen; Rajas for John Cage by Rocco DiPietro, new compositions for toy piano and loops by Ranjit Bhatnagar; Gold Ocean by Ken Ueno/Du Yun; Neil Rolnick’s Numb and Mono plus post-concert discussion led by special guest moderator Cornelius Duffalo at the Flea Theatre, 41 White St. (Church/Bwy), free, early arrival highly advised.
5/2 John Doe & Exene Cervenka of X at City Winery 8 PM $22 tix. avail.
5/2 casually captivating, golden-voiced Americana-inspired chanteuse Robin Aigner plus a full band at the Jalopy 9 PM.
5/2 El Topo at Rose Bar in Williamsburg, 10ish “Acid-exotica septet from Brooklyn, NY. El Topo funnels influences ranging from Dirty Harry movies to Martin Denny, from classical Arabic music to Italian giallos. Combining the intensity of a psychedelic rock band with the jump-cut attitudes of film scores, El Topo conjures soundscapes for the dancer in your head.”
5/3 ferociously smart Americana siren Liz Tormes and her band play the Rockwood, 8 PM.
5/3, 9 PM latin guitar/cuatro god Aquiles Baez at Rose Bar in Williamsburg
5/4, 2 PM at Merkin Concert Hall the La Catrina Quartet play latin classical composers: Works by Emmanuel Arias y Luna, Joseph Haydn, Astor Piazzolla, Javier Alvarez, Felix Mendelssohn and Jose Pablo Moncayo, tix dirt cheap, $15.
5/4 jazz vibraphonist Mark Sherman at 55 Bar with Jim Ridl on piano, Tom Dicarlo on bass, Tim Horner on drums
5/5 at the Bell House the “Guactacular” guacamole contest/pigout/concert including free Tecate and Dos Equis 7-8 PM and a set by accordionist Alex Meixner, $12 adv tix available at the venue. Raffle, guacamole judging, general drunkenness and who knows what else.
5/5 celebrate Cinco de Mayo at Littlefield with NYC banda supergroup Banda Sinaloense de Los Muertos feat. Oscar Noriega & Chris Speed – clarinets; Jakob Garchick – Sousaphone; Jim Black & Vinnie Sperrazza – percussion; Patrick Farrell & Rachel Drehman ; Alto horn; Curtis Hasselbring & Brian Drye – trombones and many guest singers including Chicha Libre’s Olivier Conan, Jean Carla Rodea, Rana Santacruz and many more tba, followed by the self-explanatory Cumbiagra, 8 PM-ish, tix cheap, only $10.
5/5-9 alto sax titan Kenny Garrett at Iridium, 8/10 PM, $30/$35 weekend
5/5-6, 8 PM at Avery Fisher Hall Valery Giergiev conducts the NY Phil doing Stravinsky’s Petroushka, $31 tix avail.
5/5 indie/Americana legends the Silos at Lakeside 9:30ish.
5/5 retro country hellraisers the Jack Grace Band plays the cd release show for their new one, their best-ever Drinking Songs for Lovers at Rodeo Bar 10:30 PM. They’re also at Hill Country on 5/6 at 9 and there again, same time on 5/12.
5/6-9 pianist Mulgrew Miller and his original group Wingspan at the Jazz Standar, sets 7:30/9, tix $25 ($30 on the weekend).
5/6, 8 PM Monica Huggett, violin and Audrey Axinn, fortepiano play mostly early Romantics: Mozart, Beethoven, Schubert and Weber at the Abigail Adams Smith Museum Auditorium, 417 East 61st St., $25.
5/6 Ilamawana play hypnotic, dubwise, horn-driven roots reggae at Sullivan Hall 10 PM.
5/6 El Pueblo plays dub reggae en Espanol at Hank’s 10:30 PM
5/6 Norden Bombsight – the missing link between Joy Division and Pink Floyd – at Matchless 11 PM.
5/6 oldtimey chanteuse Miss Tess & the Bon Ton Parade at Rodeo Bar 10:30 PM.
5/7 the Walking Hellos (cool Brooklyn band with baritone guitar, accordion and rhythm section) open for indie cult supergroup the Golden Palominos (no idea if anybody from the original band is left) at le Poisson Rouge, 7 PM, $15
5/7, 7:30 PM Maureen McDermott, cello and Anne-Marie McDermott, piano play Bach, Brahms and Kodaly at Third St. Music School Settlement, free
5/7 a rare Flugente trio show at Banjo Jim’s 8 PM – fearlessly intense frontman/lyricist Jerry Adler, guitar god Jeremiah Lockwood and Yuval Lion of Pink Noise on drums.
5/7, 9 PM for fans of the greatest rock band ever, “a tribute to the Church in celebration of Marty Willson-Piper’s birthday” at Luna Lounge-meister Rob Sacher’s latest venture, Satellite Lounge, 143 Havemeyer St., (S. 1st.& S. 2nd.), south Williamsburg, J/M to Marcy Ave. No idea if anybody is playing, but you know the songs are bound to be good.
5/7, 8:30 PM former McCoy Tyner and Earth Wind & Fire tenor player Azar Lawrence’s Sextet plays a Tribute to Ali’s Alley: Azar Lawrence, tenor/soprano sax; Eddie Henderson, trumpet; Gerald Hayes, alto sax; Benito Gonzalez, piano; Ronnie Burrage, drums. At Tribeca Performing Arts Center at the BMCC, 199 Chambers St., tix $25/$15 stud/srs. Lawrence’s new album Mystic Journey was Rashied Ali’s final session.
5/7 haunting, genre-defying Syrian chanteuse Gaida and her great levantine band at BAM Cafe 9 PM.
5/7 at the Parkside a fun triple bill: atmospheric LES psychelic garage legends Band of Outsiders at 9, the similar, slightly Dream Syndicate-ish Glass Trees at 11 and the very Alex Chilton-inspired Nu-Sonics at midnight
5/7 Americana guitarmeister Chris Erikson & the Wayward Puritans at Lakeside 9:30ish.
5/7 deliriously fun, danceable latin soul bugalu revivalists Spanglish Fly at Camaradas el Barrio, 2241 1st Ave at 116th St., 10 PM, $5
5/7 ominously funny bluespunk band the Five Points Band at Rodeo Bar 10:30 PM.
5/7, 11 PM JC Brooks and the Uptown Sound – 60s style Chicago soul revivalists – at Southpaw, $10 adv tix rec.
5/7 golden age hip-hop legends EPMD at B.B. King’s, 11 PM – Erick and Parrish still making dollars after all these years.
5/7 the One and Nines – who do for Memphis soul what Sharon Jones is doing for soul/funk – at the Rockwood at midnight.
5/8 half past noon ish jazz brunch at Smoke uptown with an uncommonly interesting, smart crew: Misha Piatigorsky (piano), Danton Boller (bass), Rudy Royston (drums).
5/8, 2 (two) PM Mick Turner and Jim White of the Dirty Three play free at Soundfix Lounge in the new space at N 11th and Berry in Williamsburg
5/8 stark, intense, fun violin-and-guitar-driven artsy indie band Bern & the Brights at Spike Hill, 8 PM.
5/8, 8 PM popular indie powerpop rockers Palomar, then the chick who used to drum for the Vivian Girls and then the Primitives (who were sort of the female Teenage Fanclub) in what might be their final US show ever, at the Bell House, adv tix $22.50 highly recommended
5/8 composer/trombonist Samuel Blaser – whose most recent album ranked high on our best-of list for 2009 – leads his Quartet at the Cornelia St. Cafe, 8 PM with Todd Neufeld (guitar), Eivind Opsvik (bass), Billy Mintz (drums); they’ll also be at Zebulon on 5/9 at 9.
5/8, 8 PM the Gowanus Jazz Fest kicks off at the Douglass Street Music Collective, 295 Douglass St. (3rd/4th Aves.), Gowanus, Brooklyn with Sam Newsome playing Monk solo on soprano sax followed at 9:30 by Big Enigma feat. Christine Correa, Matt Moran, John Carlson, Jeremy Udden, Frank Carlberg, Jerome Harris and Kenny Wollesen, sugg don. $15 for the night.
5/8 oldschool 60s style soul duo Dwight and Nicole – Steve Cropper guitar and some of the most casually sultry vocals you’ll hear these days – at the Rockwood, 8 PM
5/8, 8:30 PM Middle Eastern/groove/indescribable multistylistic world music orchestra Tribecastan invades Joe’s Pub feat. special guests trombonist Steve Turre, organist Al Kooper, Samantha Parton of the Be Good Tanyas, violinist Charlie Burnham, master percussionist Todd Isler.
5/8 very popular retro country crew M Shanghai String Band at the Jalopy 9 PM.
5/8 the ferocious South Serbian style Raya Brass Band at Mehanata, 10 PM. They’re also at Radegast Hall in Williamsburg on 5/13 at 9.
5/8, 10 PM garage-punk powerhouse 18 at Port 41 on 41st St. out behind Port Authority, $5.
5/8, 10 PM King Django play ska-punk at Two Boots Brooklyn, free.
5/8 LES punk/surf/rockabilly legends Simon & the Bar Sinisters at Lakeside 10:30ish.
5/8, midnight-ish Busta Rhymes at Highline Ballroom, tix $20 day of show only.
5/8 original, fun, danceable nuevo-Motown party band Sonia’s Party at Glasslands sometime around 1 AM (actually morning of 5/9) – music til 3 AM.
5/9, 11:30AM-ish the amazingly multistylistic, danceable, often haunting, often very funny Metropolitan Klezmer at City Winery, $10, no food/drink minimum
5/9, 2VC – new music for 2 cellos and percussion feat. Jessie Reagen Mann and Gene Carr playing works by Derrik Jordan, Will Van Dyke, Jonathan Bell, Amanda Monaco, Ramon Tasat and Oded Lev-Ari “as well as some oldies but goodies” at 6th St. Synagogue, 325 E. Sixth Street (between 1st Ave. and 2nd Ave.) $15 adv tix, $8 stud/under 21.
5/9 at Banjo Jim’s a benefit for Sean Casey Animal Rescue (who knew that the former Red Sox first baseman was such an animal lover?), 7 PM ish feat. Drina and the Deep Blue Sea, Liz Tormes, Alice Texas, Lorraine Leckie, Craig Chesler and others, $10 for a good cause.
5/9 oud player George Ziadeh leads a brilliant levantine ensemble: Tareq Abboushi on buzuq, Sami Abu Shumays of Zikrayat on violin, Amir ElSaffar on santoor, Zafer Tawil on oud and percussion, and Faisal Zedan on percussion playing “an Evening of Tarab: Adwaar, Muwashshahat & Umm Kulthoum – Back By Popular Demand!” at Alwan for the Arts, 9 PM, tix $20/15 stud., early arrival a must, this will sell out.
5/9, 9 PM, alternately haunting and entertaining art-rock/avant/folk chanteuse Larkin Grimm at Cake Shop.
5/9, 9 PM, sultry and amusing oldtime French chanson revivalists les Chauds Lapins at the Jalopy, $10.
5/9 Finotee play upbeat roots reggae at Shrine, 9 PM
5/9, 10ish at Rose Bar in Williamsburg the reliably excellent, innovative Tim Kuhl Group feat. saxist Jon Irabagon and trombonist Josh Roseman, two guitars and more.
5/9, 11 PM moody noir rockers Mad Juana at Otto’s
5/10 steampunk songwriting/accordion goddesss Rachelle Garniez at the Cornelia St. Cafe, 10ish, $15.
5/10 fiery, fearless New Orleans/Balkan chanteuse Meschiya Lake at Small Beast at the Delancey 11ish followed by Botanica mastermind Paul Wallfisch. Lake is also at Barbes on 5/13 at 10, at the Jalopy on 5/16 at 8 and at Radegast Hall on 5/20 at 9.
5/11, 8 PM Ninth House at Spike Hill playing songs from their upcoming cd 11 Cemetery and Western Classics
5/11, 8 PM fearless avant piano virtuoso Kathleen Supove at the Stone with Elan Vytal on turntables and Ryan Brown on guitars, free copy of her forthcoming cd The Exploding Piano to first five customers who sign up. Plus a prize for whoever can answer this question: “The new CD has the following works on it—“Isabelle Eberhardt Dreams of Pianos” by Missy Mazzoli; “A Shaking of the Pumpkin” by Michael Gatonska; “On Track” by Anna Clyne; “Revolution” by Daniel Becker; and “Sutra Sutra” by Randall Woolf. Question: which composition will Supove be LEAST likely to be performing at The Stone, and why?”
5/11-15 the Terence Blanchard Quintet: Brice Winston (sax) Joshua Crumbly (bass) Kendrick Scott (drums) Fabian Almazan (piano) at Birdland, 8:30/11 PM, $30 seating avail.
5/11, 11:30 PM creepy, improvisational art-song specialists Dollshot at Korzo, 667 5th Avenue (19th/20th Sts.), Park Slope, Brooklyn, R to Prospect Avenue or F to 7th Ave. and a 15 minute walk
5/12, 7:30 PM, clever, artsy, ethereal and often haunting indie pop band Clare & the Reasons at Joe’s Pub, $15
5/12, 7:30 PM adventurous organist Gail Archer plays from her excellent new Bach cd at Central Synagogue.
5/12, 8 PM, our pals over at Feast of Music have their monthly extravaganza over at Littlefield and this one’s a great doublebill: hypnotic, improvisational new music ensemble Kyklos followed by fiery, unpredictable, virtuosic Balkan/Russian/latin string band Ljova and the Kontraband, $8 adv tix highly rec.
5/12, 8:30 PM, jaunty 80s new wave pop revivalists Hank and Cupcakes at le Poisson Rouge, $6
5/12 adventurous multistylistic bluegrass band Frankenpine at Lakeside 9:15ish; they’re also here on 6/3 at 9.
5/12, 9:30 PM deviously comedic songwriter/chanteuse Peri Lyons at Caffe Vivaldi.
5/12, 10 PM guitarist/singer Jennifer Curtis’ imaginative, jazzy, sultry chamber-pop group This Reporter at Bar 4 in Brooklyn.
5/12-13, 10 PM Louisiana bluesman Chris Thomas King (who played the Robert Johnson character in the Coen Bros.’ O Brother Where Art Thou) plays electric at Terra Blues.
5/13 the funnest band on the planet, surfy psychedelic cumbia rockers Chicha Libre on the Rocks Off Concert Cruise aboard the Half Moon, boarding at 7 at the FDR and 23rd St., adv tix $25 at the Highline box office highly rec.
5/13, 7 PM, ominous, atmospheric, sultry noir art-rockers Elysian Fields at le Poisson Rouge, $15.
5/13, 7 PM pianist Robert Mitchell plays Debussy, Ligeti and Rzweski at the Yamaha Piano Salon, $10 sugg. don.
5/13 the Scandia String Quartet play Foerster, Grieg, eerie Icelandic folk songs and other delightful Nordic obscurities at Victor Borge Hall, at Scandinavia House, 58 Park Ave. (37/38), 8 PM, $15, free with stud. ID.
5/13 country siren Drina Seay and Americana axemeister Steve Antonakos followed by crooner Sean Kershaw & the Terrible Two at 11th St. Bar, 8 PM. Antonakos plays solo at Banjo Jim’s the next day at 1 AM (actually, morning of 5/15).
5/13, 9/10:30 PM the Alan Ferber Nonet with strings at the Jazz Gallery $15/$10 for second set.
5/13 punk-pop legends the Buzzcocks at Irving Plaza, 9 PM, $30 adv tix rec.
5/13 pianist Orrin Evans – whose new album is characteristically cerebral and intense – leads a quartet at Smalls, 9 PM.
5/13 Nashville guitar/piano legend Greg Garing – who learned at the feet of the original Grand Old Opry cast – at Southpaw, 10 PM, $10.
5/13 long-running British art-rock songwriter Al Stewart acoustic at City Winery, 10ish, $20 seating avail.
5/13 Reverend Al and the Sharptones play clever Nick Lowe style twangy reverb retro guitar rock/soul with at Fontana’s, 10 PM.
5/14, 7 PM, Gary Louris of the Jayhawks and Golden Smog at le Poisson Rouge, $22 adv tix rec.
5/14, 7:30 PM PM at Symphony Space Joydeep Ghosh plays classical and contemporary Indian compositions on the rare, ancient surshringar, sort of a bass sarod lute, tix $25/$18 stud.
5/14 jangly, anthemic Irish rockers the Saw Doctors at Irving Plaza, 9 PM, adv tix $35.
5/14, 10 PM high-energy, entertaining, funny acoustic Irish punk band Box of Crayons at Parkside
5/14 the Doc Marshalls play fiery zydeco and west Texas honkytonk at Hill Country 10 PM.
5/14 ferociously anthemic, atmospheric, socially aware, Radiohead-inflected art-rockers My Pet Dragon at the Cameo Gallery 11 PM.
5/15, doors at 11 AM, the Wall to Wall Behind the Wall marathon at Symphony Space, free, classical music from behind the old Iron Curtain including compositions by Lutoslawski, Prokofiev, Shostakovich, Gorecki, Enescu, too many acts and pieces on the program to list here, the complete calendar is here.
5/15, 7 PM legendary NYC noir rocker LJ Murphy solo acoustic at Banjo Jim’s, 7 PM. No, this is not a typo, the bar probably has him on speed dial and needed a fill-in. Lenny Kaye also did one of these fill-in shows. Get there early.
5/15 psychedelic, rustic Balkan/blues/klezmer/reggae juggernaut Hazmat Modine at 7:15ish at Terra Blues, two sets, followed by fiery Chicago style blues guitarist/crooner Johnny Allen at 10.
5/15, 8 PM the second night of the Gowanus Jazz Fest at the Douglass Street Music Collective, 295 Douglass St. (3rd/4th Aves.), Gowanus, Brooklyn with the Carlberg/Urie City Band feat. Jeremy Udden, Douglas Yates, Kenny Pexton, Brian Landrus, Albert Leusink, Ben Holmes, John Carlson, Alan Ferber, Max Seigal, Frank Carlberg, Jorge Roeder, Ziv Ravitz,Nicholas Urie, sugg. don. $15.
5/15 moody downtempo groove-rockers El Jezel at the Cameo Gallery, 8 PM, $10
5/15 Pauline Oliveros on accordion at the Stone, sets 8/10 PM, early arrival highly advised since this will sell out
5/15 the American String Quartet plays Mozart String Quartet No. 17 in B-Flat Major, K. 458, “Hunt;” Shostakovich String Quartet No. 3 in F Major, Op. 73 and Schubert String Quartet No. 14 in d minor, D. 810, “Death and the Maiden” at Bargemusic, 8 PM, concert repeats at 3 PM on 5/16, tix $35, $30/15 srs/stud.
5/15, 8 PM Rich Russo of 101.9 WRXP’s Anything Anything has assembled a cool triplebill at Bowery Ballroom with retro 70s/80s songwriter/producer Don DiLego, tuneful, high-energy Brooklyn janglepunks the Stalkers and artsy pop band A Million Years, who sound a lot like the Police, in a good way, tix $20.
5/15, 8 PM clever Americana jamrockers Tall Tall Trees at the Shambhala Center, 118 W 22nd St., $10
5/15, 8:30 PM string quartet Crucible (Cornelius Dufallo and Chris Otto, violins; John King, viola; and Alex Waterman, cello) will perform music from King’s new CD “10 Mysteries” at Roulette.
5/15, 9 PM ferociously literate, psychedelic art-rockers the Oxygen Ponies at Sycamore Bar in Ditmas Park, Brooklyn
5/15, 9 PM fun, danceable, authentic yet original latin bugalu revivalists Spanglish Fly at Mehanata, $10.
5/15, 10 PM alto sax jazz monster Jon Irabagon at the Fat Cat
5/15 fiery, funny Americana punk band Spanking Charlene – whose frontwoman is one of the most powerful, compelling singers around – at Lakeside 11 PM
5/16, 4 (four) PM Larry Long plays Bach on the organ at the Church of the Epiphany, 1393 York Ave. and 74th St., $25.
5/16, 6:30 PM Daan Vandewalle, piano plays Frederic Rzewski’s “The People United Will Never Be Defeated!” at le Poisson Rouge, $15
5/16, 7:30 PM at the Parkside the last Songwriters from Hell mix for awhile feat. Sousalves and other denizens of the night.
5/16, 8 PM Leigh-Ra play dark chamber pop at Caffe Vivaldi.
5/16 jangly, smart southwestern gothic rock with Tom Shaner at Lakeside, 9 PM.
5/16 haunting, gorgeous-voiced Linda Thompson soundalike and first-class literate songwriter Mary Battiata of Little Pink makes a rare NYC appearance at Banjo Jim’s, 9ish on a bill with Monica Passin of Lil Mo & the Monicats
5/16, 9 PM even if you can’t get to Morocco you can enjoy the Fez Festival of Sacred Music with the linktv program Sound of the Soul feat. Nass El Ghiwane, Anuna, Katia Guerreiro, and Farida Mahwash and the Kabul Ensemble, followed by a live webcast and chat with director Stephen Olsson at 10:28 PM
5/16, 9:30 PM at Joe’s Pub Maria Raducanu, “one of the most original singers in Romania’s jazz history, together with her international trio feat. Krister Jonsson on guitar and bassist Chris Dahlgren play fado & Romanian traditional songs, cradle songs, Russian romances, jazz standards, Sephardic songs, tangos, bossa-nova,” $15 adv tix highly rec.
5/16, 11ish at Rose Bar in Williamsburg – Lucky Bastard: “An organic Brooklyn-blend of the Meters, Clapton, Ray Charles, and Steely Dan.”
5/17 jazz chanteuse Karrin Allyson and her quartet outdoors at Bryant Park, 6 PM, free.
5/17 an amazing night upstairs at the Delancey, even by Small Beast standards: hypnotic psychedelic gamelanesque trip-hop on homemade instruments by Electric Junkyard Gamelan, Pearl and the Beard cellist Emily Hope Price, intense Americana powerhouse Meschiya Lake, dramatic noir rock chanteuse Rykarda Parasol and Botanica frontman/pianist Paul Wallfisch, show starts at 9. Wow.
5/17, 9 PM noir-ish Americana twang guitar genius Bill Frisell plays a benefit at Roulette, $30 adv tix. rec.
5/17, 9ish the Jeff Fairbanks Jazz Orchestra at Tea Lounge in Park Slope.
5/17, 10:30 PM Brooklyn’s own otherworldly, ethereal, hauntingly innovative Balkan vocal quartet Black Sea Hotel at Galapagos.
5/18, 1 (one) PM Camille Kohnken plays Grieg, Bartok, Beethoven and Ligeti at the Yamaha Piano Salon, free
5/18, 8 PM, ex-Railroad Jerk and White Hassle Americana rock tunesmith/wordsmith Marcellus Hall at Bruar Falls.
5/18, 8 PM at the Stone Bridget Kibbey plays solo harp: “exploring the cross-section of folk and contemporary in a set featuring works by Susie Ibarra, David Bruce, Kati Agocs and arrangements by Kibbey.”
5/18-22 this era’s most state-of-the-art jazz chanteuse, Karrin Allyson with Lewis Nash (drums) Ed Howard (bass) Rod Fleeman (guitar) at Birdland, sets 8:30/11 PM $30 seating avail.
5/18 LES powerpop legend George Usher at Lakeside 9ish.
5/19, 3 (three) PM the Grand Air Trio plays Ravel, Carrabre, Vladigerov, Mendelssohn and Piazzolla at the Yamaha Piano Salon, $10 sugg. don.
5/19, 7:30 PM organist Gail Archer plays selections from her upcoming Bach cd at Central Synagogue (123 E 55th St, Train E/V-Lex/55th St).
5/19 avant punk legends Public Image Ltd. (with Lu Edmonds of the Damned and Triaboliques on guitar, pretty cool!) at the Music Hall of Williamsburg, 9ish, adv tix $37.50 – ouch
5/19 frequently funny Nashville gothic with Maynard & the Musties at Lakeside 9:30ish.
5/19, 10:30ish the Tiki Bros. play “P Slope surf rock” at Cafe Steinhof, 10:30ish
5/20, 7 PM up-and-coming jazz singer/trumpeter Natalie John at Caffe Vivaldi.
5/20, 7:30 PM at Merkin Concert Hall an art-rock bill with Elizabeth and the Catapult (pianist Elizabeth Ziman and her band) plus sets by 101 Crustaceans’ singer/pianist Ed Pastorini and Gabriel Kahane, $25 adv tix avail.
5/20 clever, tuneful pianist/chanteuse Elaine Romanelli plays the cd release show for her new one The Real Deal at the Bitter End, 8 PM, $5.
5/20, 8:30 PM extremely popular Haitian singer Emeline Michel plays the Atrium at Lincoln Center, early arrival a must.
5/20 catchy melodic ambitious European-flavored jazz with bassist Joris Teepe’s group featuring David Kikoski on piano plus Alex Sipiagin – trumpet , Willard Dyson – drums, 9 PM at Smalls.
5/20 trumpeter Steven Bernstein’s reliably upbeat, fun, surprising Sex Mob at 55 Bar, 10 PM
5/21 Small Beast presents the Big Beast at the Orensanz Center, definitely the best bill of the year so far: noir cabaret legends Little Annie and Paul Wallfisch, haunting atmospheric art-rockers Bee & Flower; NYC’s best live band, the ferocious, gypsy-art-punk Botanica ; noir atmospheric/gypsy instrumentalists Barbez, World Inferno keyboardist Franz Nicolay, pensively anthemic British art-folk songwriter Spottiswoode and Brooklyn’s own haunting Balkan vocal choir Black Sea Hotel singing from the balcony! Adv tix $20 available at the Delancey include open bar 6:30-7:30 PM.
5/21, 8 PM the Philharmonic Orchestra of the Americas with violinist Daniel Andai & guitarist Pablo Sáinz Villegas play new music by Mexican composers: Gustavo Campa’s Melodía with solo violinist Daniel Andai, Ricardo Castro’s Intermezzo de Atzimba, and Candelario Huízar’s Imágenes, plus Federico Ibarra’s Sinfonía No. 2 and Manuel M. Ponce’s Concierto del Sur with solo guitarist Pablo Sáinz Villegas, and Astor Piazzolla’s Otoño Porteño at Alice Tully Hall, $15 tix adv tix avail. and highly rec.
5/21, 8:15 PM smartly entertaining, socially aware duo Left on Red at Caffe Vivaldi.
5/21 haunting, rustic, gypsy-inflected art-rockers Kotorino – whose show here last year made our 20 Best NYC Concerts list last year – at Pete’s, 9 PM.
5/21, 9ish the Joris Teepe Jazz Orchestra at Tea Lounge in Park Slope
5/21, 9:30 PM at Smalls the Neal Smith Quartet featuring Mulgrew Miller on piano, Neal Smith – drums, Abraham Burton – tenor, Seth Lewis – bass
5/21 hypnotic Mississippi hillcountry blues guitar genius Will Scott at Hill Country, 10 PM.
5/21 Grand Masters of Gypsy Music at Mehanata, 10 PM
5/21 Black Sheep and Naughty by Nature at the Brooklyn Masonic Temple, 10ish, $28, early arrival advised.
5/21, 11 PM Roots Vibration play real oldschool rasta reggae at Shrine
5/22-23 Dafnis Prieto’s Si O Si Quartet: Peter Apfelbaum – saxophones; Manuel Valera – piano; Charles Flores – bass; Dafnis Prieto – drums at the Jazz Standard, sets 7:30/9, tix $30/$25 Sun.
5/22, 8 PM, jangly rocker Paula Carino – whose hauntingly lyrical new album Open on Sunday tops our Best Albums of 2010 list so far – open for another auspicious new one, the Larch playing cuts from their ever-more-tuneful, guitarishly amazing new cd at the Parkside
5/22, 8 PM the Gowanus Jazz Fest winds up at the Douglass Street Music Collective, 295 Douglass St. (3rd/4th Aves.), Gowanus, Brooklyn with pianist Frank Carlberg’s absolutely haunting, noir carnivalesque Tivoli Trio, sugg. don. $15.
5/22, 8 PM, free, the American Composers Orchestra plays up-and-coming composers battling for a $15K commission at Miller Theatre, 116th and Broadway. Featured works by Matti Kovler, Hannah Lash, Eric Lindsay, Tamar Muskal, Ricardo Romaneiro, Christopher Stark, and Xi Wang. A working rehearsal on 5/21 at 10 AM is also free and open to the public.
5/22, 8 PM Mark Peskanov, violin; Carlos Prieto, cello; Doris Stevenson, piano play the Haydn Piano Trio No. 35 in C Major, Hob. XV:21; Shostakovich Cello Sonata in d minor, Op. 40; and the Brahms Piano Trio No. 3 in c minor, Op. 101 at Bargemusic, repeating 5/23 at 3 PM, tix $35, $30/$15 srs/stud
5/22, 8 PM Sympho’s Tweetheart concert debuts at the Church for All Nations, 417 W 57th St. feat Singer-songwriter Jonathan Coulton, Haitian pop star Emeline Michel plus the SymphoNYC chamber orchestra. “The concert spans five centuries and multiple cultures, from commissioned and spontaneously created acoustic and electronic pieces to music by, among others, John Adams, Prokofiev, Bjork, Prince, Verdi, and Monteverdi.”
5/22 Hurricane Bells – Steve Schiltz of Longwave and Scout’s ethereal, jangly new band – at the Mercury 8 PM.
5/22, sets 9/10:30 PM jazz trumpet icon Pam Fleming & Fearless Dreamer at Parlor Jazz, 119 Vanderbilt Ave (btw Myrtle & Park), Ft. Greene, Brooklyn, G or A/C to Clinton-Washington, $30, but includes open wine bar and snacks!
5/22, 9 PM the amazing showmanship and down-home authentic New Orleans big-band soul of Brother Joscephus at the Brooklyn Bowl, $5.
5/22, sets at 9/10:30 PM, artsy 80s/goth pianist/singer Kristin Hoffmann at Caffe Vivaldi
5/22 Senegalese roots reggae with the popular Meta & the Cornerstones 10PMish at Rose Bar in Williamsburg.
5/22 Mattison plays warmly hypnotic, smart indie keyboard soul/pop and trip-hop at Pete’s 10 PM.
5/22 amazing, scorching Balkan punk rock with the Kreptatka Bar Band at Mehanata, 10 PM
5/22, 10 PM invigorating Indian marching band Red Baraat plays Barbes
5/22 rockabilly guitar goddess Rosie Flores at Rodeo Bar 10:30 PM
5/23, 3 PM the Greenwich Village Orchestra plays a program they absolutely slay with: Ippolitov-Ivanov – Caucasian Sketches op. 10, selections; Marcus/Seletsky – The Well-Tempered Klezmier arr. for Solo Klezmer Clarinet and Orchestra; Rimsky-Korsakov – Scheherazade at Washington Irving HS Auditorium, cheap, just a $20 donation.
5/23, 8:15 PM oboeist Keve Wilson leads a quartet with pianist and composer Jeff Marder, cellist Greg Heffernan and beat box composer Gene Pritsker playing “creative arrangements of music by Piazzolla, Ravel, Lady Gag, and Zhurbin” at Caffe Vivaldi.
5/23 at the Cornelia St. Cafe, 8:30 PM the reliably disquieting, compelling Tom Beckham Group: Tom Beckham, vibraphone; Chris Cheek, saxophones; Henry Hey, piano; Matt Clohesey, bass; Ferenc Nemeth, drums
5/23 intoxicatingly hypnotic and danceable cumbia party stars Very Be Careful at SOB’s, 9 PM, adv tix highly rec. – tix originally sold for Highline Ballroom will be honored.
5/23, 10 PM-ish Texas honkytonk guitar god Wayne Hancock at Public Assembly, $15 adv tix rec. unless you can wait til he plays Rodeo Bar for free.
5/24-28 lyrical, imaginative, soulful jazz pianist Deanna Witkowski plays solo at half past noon outdoors on the terrace at Bryant Park, free
5/24 the Orion String Quartet outdoors at Bryant Park, 6 PM, free, program TBA
5/24-30 Ahmad Jamal at the Blue Note, 8/10:30 PM, $30 “bar seating” avail. for early birds
5/24 anthemic,tuneful 90s-ish rock with the Royal Chains at Pete’s 9:30 PM
5/25 legendary LES psychedelic punks Band of Outsiders at Lakeside 9 PM.
5/25, 9 PM at Smalls the Ben Wolfe Quintet with Marcus Strickland on tenor, Ryan Kisor on trumpet, Ben Wolfe on bass, Luis Perdomo on piano, Greg Hutchinson on drums.
5/25, 10 PM at the Stone: the Rafi Malkiel Ensemble – Water: “All original compositions on the theme of water in its different forms, mixing Middle-Eastern, Eastern-European, Jazz, Classical and Afro-Caribbean elements, and exploring the connection between those traditions and Jewish musical heritage.”
5/25 multistylistic, sometimes phantasmagorical vibraphonist Tom Beckham’s Slice at Royale, 506 5th Ave. (12th/13th Sts.), Park Slope, Brooklyn, 10ish
5/25 virtuoso, fun hokum blues and oldtimey hillbilly songs with the Second Fiddles at Rodeo Bar 10:30 PM.
5/25 Snehasish Mozumder & SOM play spiky, trancey North Indian mandolin jazz, 11ish at Rose Bar in Williamsburg.
5/26 Tall Tall Trees play clever acoustic Americana/jamband stuff at Bryant Park, free, 6 PM.
5/26 haunting acoustic Nashville gothic band Bobtown at 68 Jay St Bar, 8 PM.
5/26, 8:15 PM multistylistic Americana/jazz/avant violinist/songwriter Mazz Swift (of Brazz Tree) at Caffe Vivaldi
5/26, 9ish psychedelic jazzy/soundtrack atmospherics with El Topo at Glasslands
5/26 whoever’s left in the Yardbirds at B.B. King’s 8 PM.
5/27 fiery, catchy, Clash-inspired politically aware acoustic rockers Gillen and Turk at Coogan’s, 169th and Broadway, 5 PM, A or 1 train to 168th
5/27 clever, tongue-in-cheek early 50s hillbilly parodists Susquehanna Industrial Tool and Die Co. at Otto’s 8:30 PM
5/27-28 Reverend Horton Heat 10:30 PM-ish at Highline Ballroom, adv tix $30 highly rec.
5/27, 6:30 PM Face the Music (NYC schools supergroup of up-and-coming new music talent) play Nico Muhly’s Honest Music and How About Now followed at 7:30 PM by SIGNAL playing new Nico Muhly and Harrison Birtwhistle, at Merkin Concert Hall, $25 adv tix. avail.
5/27, 8 PM the Grneta Duo+ (fiery pianist Alexandra Joan plus the similarly minded clarinetists Vasko Dukovski and Ismail Lumanovski) play music of Bela Bartok, many others from the former eastern bloc plus the world premiere of the “Grneta Variations” by Gerald Cohen at Bechstein Hall, 207 W 58th St., $15/$7 stud.
5/27 the hilarious, virtuosic, steampunk/delta blues/hillbilly Roulette Sisters at the Jalopy, 9 PM.
5/27 the Moonlighters at Radegast Hall in Williamsburg, 9 PM – let’s see if Bliss Blood can get the losers to quiet down and listen to those gorgeous oldtimey harmonies.
5/27 Bahian powerhouse dance band Dende & Hahahaes at Barbes, 10 PM
5/28 Jello Biafra & the Guantanamo School of Medicine play the Rocks Off Concert Cruise aboard the Temptress boarding at 6:30 and leaving from 41st St. and the river, adv tix $30 at the Highline box office highly recommended, this will sell out.
5/28, 8 PM at Barbes Raelian Cabaret: Sephardic-Balkan Extravaganza: “the debut of Sephardic music project from Chris Rael (Church of Betty), Rima Fand (Luminescent Orchestrii), Vlada Tomova (Balkan Tales), Greg Squared (Ansambl Mastika), Nacho Arimany (World flamenco fusion star Nacho)” followed at 10 by Smokey Hormel’s western swing band.
5/28, 8 PM Daphna Mor’s eerie, atmospheric Middle Eastern flavored East of the River Ensemble with Daphna Mor (recorder), Nina Stern (recorder), Omer Avital, (oud) Uri Sharlin, (accordion) Shane Shanahan (percussion) at the Stone
5/28, 8:30 PM, Missy Mazzoli night at Roulette: the world premiere of a new piece for her darkly terse art-rock ensemble Victoire, the world premiere of a new arrangement of her work A Thousand Tongues, a rare performance of her string trio Lies You Can Believe In, and solo performances by the empress of atonalism, violist Nadia Sirota and exploding pianist Kathleen Supove, $15
5/28-29 Peter Apfelbaum & the NY Hieroglyphics at the Jazz Gallery 9/10:30 PM, $20
5/28, 7 PM Jeremy Messersmith at Joe’s Pub playing stuff off his new cd The Reluctant Graveyard – retro 60s Kinks meets Elliott Smith, chamber pop and more rocking stuff with a quirky, sometimes surprisingly dark lyrical edge, $12.
5/28 an absolutely kick-ass triple bill at Trash starting at 9 with the charismatic, anti-gentrification, pro-fun individualist punkish roar of the Brooklyn What, then ferocious horn-driven ska swing rockers Tri-State Conspiracy at 10 and the surfy, noirish, Gun Club-esque garage punk of the Highway Gimps at 11
5/28, 8 PM Daphna Mor’s eerie, atmospheric Middle Eastern flavored East of the River Ensemble with Daphna Mor (recorder), Nina Stern (recorder), Omer Avital, (oud) Uri Sharlin, (accordion) Shane Shanahan (percussion)
5/28, 11 PM recently regrouped and reinvigorated LES noir glampunk/noiserock legends the Chrome Cranks at Cake Shop, $10.
5/28 Tom Clark & the High Action Boys play their potently tuneful twangy Americana rock at Lakeside 11 PM.
5/29 Raya Brass Band – scorching fiery practically satanic fun – at Mehanata 9 PM, “nobody turned away for lack of funds,” mumble something to the door girl and you’re cool.
5/29, 9ish country siren Alana Amram and her sprawling, excellent band the Rough Gems at Zebulon
5/29 the Mess Around – the missing link between the Yardbirds and Radio Birdman – at Trash, 11 PM
5/29 careening Boston psychedelic band Stereogrove at Local 269, 11 PM, $10 and worth it. Their new album Live at the Bridge is a trip, shifting effortlessly from screaming guitar rock to clattering funk to dubwise reggae.
5/29 cool, funny garage punk with the Subway Surfers at Lakeside 11 PM.
5/30, half past noon-ish barrelhouse pianist Drew Nugent & The Midnight Society plus hot 20s jazz by Michael Arenella & His Dreamland Orchestra at Water Taxi Beach, 2 Borden Ave., Long Island City, $18 adv tix highly rec. if you live in the hood or can get there ahead of schedule.
5/30, 7:30 PM classical violinist Akiko Kobayashi at Caffe Vivaldi, program TBA.
5/30 funny alt-bluegrass band Cadillac Sky – who do a hillbilly cover of Video Killed the Radio Star – at Union Hall.
5/30, 10 PM Eyal Maoz’ Edom play pounding, surfy, psychedelic Middle Eastern rock instrumentals at the Stone.
5/30, 10ish low-register sonic heaven with the Moisturizer-esque Cuban groove of Gato Loco – baritone sax, bass, baritone guitar and tuba – at Rose Bar in Williamsburg.
5/30, 1 AM (actually wee hours of 5/31), ambient jazz megaplex Burnt Sugar at the Blue Note $10
5/31, 7:30 PM, free, the Brentano Quartet play String Quartet in F Major, op. 41, #2 by Schumann and the String Quartet in C-sharp Minor, op. 131 by Beethoven at Music Mondays, Advent Lutheran/ Broadway United Church, 2504 Broadway at 93rd St.,1/2/3 to 96th St.
5/31 Alan Gilbert conducts the NY Philharmonic at 8 PM at the Cathedral of St. John the Divine, 8 PM, free, get there early, program TBA.
5/31 politically charged latin/rock en Espanol powerhouse Among Criminals, MC5 co-founder Wayne Kramer and the Coup – the most relevant, lyrically state-of-the-art hip-hop group in the world – play the Rocks Off Concert Cruise aboard the Temptress, boarding at 6:30 PM at 41st St. and the river, adv tix $30 highly recommended at the Highline box office, this will sell out.
5/31 oldtimey chanteuse Miss Tess & the Bon Ton Parade at Banjo Jim’s, 8:30 PM
5/31 the Pete McGuinness Jazz Orchestra at Tea Lounge in Park Slope, 9ish.
5/31 multistylistic, intense cello virtuoso Dave Eggar’s DEORO 9 PM-ish at Rose Bar in Williamsburg.
5/31 9:30 PM guitar god Pete Galub at Pete’s playing his own powerpop stuff plus “Roxy Music, Steely Dan, the Buzzcocks and Britney Spears.” Can’t vouch for the celebrity stuff but he absolutely kicks ass with the Dan.
5/31 jazz pianist Bobby Avey – whose new album with Dave Liebman is as richly melodic and bracingly adventurous as you would think – at Spike Hill 10 PM
The theme of this year’s Bard Music Festival upstate in Annandale is “Berg and His World,” Leon Botstein’s in-depth survey of music by Viennese modernist Alban Berg and his contemporaries, continuing for seven weeks starting in June. Too many concerts to list here: the entire schedule is here.
6/1, 8 PM popular Ethiopian-American singer-songwriter Meklit Hadero at le Poisson Rouge, $20 adv tix rec.
6/1 multistylistic, sophisticated Americana chanteuse Julia Haltigan at 10 PM at 11th St. Bar
6/2 Jeremy Udden’s Plainville play pensive, thoughtful Americana jazz at Bryant Park, 6 PM, free
6/2, 7:30ish jazz vibraphone legend (and Guru collaborator) Roy Ayers at Betsy Head Park, Herzl at Livonia Ave., Brownsville, Brooklyn, 3 train to Livonia Ave.
6/2 fearless, kinda noir Costello/Parker style rock songwriter Mike Rimbaud at Sidewalk, 8 PM
6/2 Toots & the Maytals at B.B. King’s, 8 PM – their new album Flip & Twist is available in special package with a “a joint-shaped USB drive loaded with Flip & Twist, a Toots Stash Box, the physical CD of the album, and a variety of other gifts.” Other gifts, hmmm…..
6/2 Robbie Krieger and Ray Manzarek at the Nokia Theatre, 8:30 PM, $30 tix available.
6/2, 9 PM soulful, pensive, artsy, distantly Wilco-ish Americana rockers the Smooth Maria at LIC Bar
6/2-3 Gillian Welch’s virtuoso guitar sidekick David Rawlings at Bowery Ballroom, 9 PM, $25.
6/2 catchy propulsive female-fronted powerpop with the Mikal Evans Band at Spike Hill, 10 PM.
6/3, 6:30 PM a benefit for Music Crossing Borders with an eclectic bill featuring West African percussion ensemble Bedstuy Ewe, amazing gypsy rockers Bad Buka (FKA Panonian Wave), darkly slinky tango nuevo innovators Importango and others at Bohemian Hall, 321 E 73rd St. (1st/2nd Aves), $30 incl. open beer/wine bar, munchies
6/3 Trombone Shorty and Michael Franti and Spearhead on Governor’s Island, 7 PM $35 adv tix avail. at the B.B. King’s box office – note that youtube losers-du-jour One Eskimo are opening so tix will go fast, get them while they last. Ferry fare is $5/ roundtrip, leaving from the old Shaolin Ferry terminal on South St.
6/3, 7 PM Inna Faliks plays Chopin, Schoenberg, Schumann, Beethoven and Pasternak at the Yamaha Piano Salon, $15.
6/3 oldschool soul/funk crooner/shouter Eli Paperboy Reed at the Mercury, 7:30 PM, $15. He’s also at the Bell House on 6/9 at 9ish for three dollars less.
6/3, 8 PM a killer triplebill at Banjo Jim’s: Sabrina Chap, who “sounds exactly like a drunken fistfight between Scott Joplin and Phyllis Diller,” followed by sharply literate, often hilarious Americana charmer Robin Aigner at 9 and then the ferociously smart, energetically punkish, intensely charismatic banjo rocker Curtis Eller at 10.
6/3 richly lyrical, fearless rocker Matt Keating at the Rockwood (on the second stage – we’re still trying to figure out where they hide it in that small space) at 8 PM
6/3, 8 PM the New Amsterdam Symphony plays Prokofiev – Romeo and Juliet Suite #2 and Brahms – Violin Concerto in D at Symphony Space, tix $18/$12 stud/srs, kids $10
6/3, 8:30 PM a musical seance of sorts at Roulette: “Using ultrasonic microphones and voicemail, Speaking with the Dead will search the ether for the unhearable present while invoking voices from the past.” Audience members should be prepared to make a small “offering,” in 3 minutes or less, i.e. an activity for the audience. Performer Brenda Hutchinson suggests something of a stretch, i.e. if you’re a singer, draw a picture; if you’re a painter, sing something.
6/3 fearless garage rocker Anna Anabolic and her band the Anabolics at Spike Hill, 9 PM.
6/3 L’il Kim – out of jail, bless her heart – at Irving Plaza, 9 PMish adv tix $35 rec.
6/3 adventurous, rousing, totally original bluegrass band Frankenpine at Lakeside, 9:15ish.
6/3 imaginatively crosspollinating Brazilian/country/New Orleans band Nation Beat at Rodeo Bar, 10:30 PM.
6/4-8 Members of the Orchestra of St. Luke’s performing an all-Mozart program, free: Eine Kleine Nachtmusik, String Quintet No. 1 in B-flat Major, K. 174; and depending on the date, the Flute Quartet in D Major, K. 285; the Oboe Quartet in F Major, K. 370 or the Horn Quintet in E-flat Major, K. 407. Venues vary throughout the boroughs: click this link and scroll down for venues and times.
6/4 Tris McCall and band outside the Grove St. Path station in Jersey City, 8 PM. If songwriting is important to you, this guy’s important, dammit. You would have gone to this if it was 1977 and it was Elvis Costello. Well it’s 2010 and this is Tris McCall. $2 on the Path train and Dosa Hut (world’s yummiest Indian pancake place) is just down the block.
6/4, 9 PM an A-list Middle Eastern supergroup – Souren Baronian – G-clarinet, saxophone, kaval, duduk, riq with Haig Manoukian – oud, Lee Baronian – darbukkeh, Mal Stein – drums, percussion, Sprocket Royer – double bass at Alwan for the Arts.
6/4 lyrical rock monster night with the 60s flavored psychedelic pop of McGinty & White at 9 followed at 10 by new wave legend/raconteur Wreckless Eric with his fierily amusing wife Amy Rigby at Bowery Electric.
6/4 catchy indie powerpopsters Elk City at the Bell House, 9 PM, $8 adv tix rec.
6/4, 10 PM the ever-increasingly more ghostly, more psychedelic oldschool latin ballad rockers las Rubias del Norte – whose new album is one of the year’s best – at Barbes.
6/4, 10 PM Zion Judah play roots reggae at Shrine
6/4, 10 PM the Reid Paley Trio at Cafe Orwell, 247 Varet St. between Bogart & White, Bushwick, Brooklyn, L to Morgan Ave. This will be fun – see how the trendoids react to some real oldschool no-BS noir. “OOOH, I spilled PBR on my baby blue Prada!”
6/4, 10:30 PM ferocious avant-garde/rock string quintet Sybarite5 – Radiohead meets Bartok – at Galapagos, 10:30 PM, $15, adv tix highly rec
6/4, 10:30ish, 80s noir/goth legends the Psychedelic Furs at Irving Plaza, adv tix $36.50 avail.
6/4 ferocious, funny, fearless electrified bluegrass rockers Demolition String Band at Rodeo Bar, 10:30 PM
6/4 high-energy ska-flavoed Argentinian rock legends Los Autenticos Decadentes at B.B.King’s 11 PM.
6/5, 7:30 PM at the Cathedral of St. John the Divine a Benefit Concert for the Congregation of Saint Saviour: Victoria Sirota, organ & Robert Sirota, piano play his Letters Abroad and Celestial Wind plus music by Bach, & Fanny & Felix Mendelssohn, $20 tix available.
6/5 a ska fest with Hub City Stompers, Rudie Crew,Moon Invaders, Caroloregians, Royal City Riot, 7:30 PM at the Knitting Factory, $10 adv tix highly rec., this may sell out.
6/5, 7 PM dark garage songwriter Lorraine Leckie and Her Demons at Banjo Jim’s
6/5-9 The New York Art Ensemble moves its Ninth Annual Tribeca New Music Festival, a 4-concert series of cutting-edge new music to Merkin Concert Hall, shows each night at 8 PM. Performers include the New York Art Ensemble Monsters (pianists Geoffrey Burleson and Kathleen Supové, and violinist Mary Rowell), the JACK Quartet, Ted Hearne Band, Pamela Z and more, adv tix $20 per concert at the box ofc highly recommended.
6/5, 8 PM the Chelsea Symphony plays Gross: Suite for Strings (world premiere); Haydn: Sinfonia Concertante; Mendelssohn: Midsummer Night’s Dream at St. Paul’s Church, 315 West 22nd St., repeating on 6/6 at 3 PM.
6/5 Brian Jonestown Massacre at the Music Hall of Williamsburg, 10 PM, $22 adv tix. rec.
6/5 the fun, sardonic punk pop of the Homewreckers at quarter to one in the morning (actually morning of 6/6) followed by the insatiable, filthy, hilarious punk/girlgroup Cudzoo & the Fagettes at half past one at Cake Shop
6/6, 3 PM the Brooklyn Symphony Orchestra plays Weill – Threepenny Opera Suite; Schoenberg – Chamber Symphony #1; Rachmaninoff – Symphonic Dances at St. Ann’s Church, 157 Montague St. (Clinton/Henry), downtown Brooklyn, 2/3/4 to Borough Hall or F to Jay St. or A/C to High St., dirt cheap, only a $15 donation
6/6, 3 PM doors, the new jacks of latin music – Jose Conde – with the venerable Cuban son revivalists los Van Van at Central Park Summerstage.
6/6, 3 PM the season finale of Kathleen Supove’s reliably entertaining avant garde series at the Flea Theatre, 41 White St. (Church/Broadway), in Tribeca, free – Michael Evans and Susan Hefner doing a percussion/dance piece, adventurously atmospheric guitarist Nick Didkovsky and then Eylan Vital doing electronic stuff plus a lively after-show discussion with the audience
6/6 the NYCity Slickers play soaring bluesgrass with harmonies at Bar Nine on 9th Ave. betw. 53/54th Sts., 6 PM
6/6 fiery janglerock/indie rockers Cementhead at the Mercury 9 PM
6/7-11 Microscopic Septet pianist and Fresh Air theme composer Joel Forrester plays outdoors on the terrace at Bryant Park, half past noon, free
6/7 the Imani Winds at Bryant Park, 6 PM, free, program TBA
6/7, an amazing Small Beast 8:30ish at the Delancey with Botanica frontman Paul Wallfisch, playful Kate Bush-style avant/cabaret chanteuse Adrienne Anemone, the eerie four-octave range of phantasmagorical Carol Lipnik and Spookarama, and the intense, dark southwestern gothic twang of And the Wiremen.
6/7, 8:30 PM guitarist to the stars of the underground (Love Camp 7, Drina Seay, Magges ad infinitum) Homeboy Steve Antonakos at Banjo Jim’s.
6/7, 9ish the Wailers – feat. original Marley guitarist Al Anderson and “Police and Thieves” crooner Junior Marvin at B.B. King’s, $25 adv tix rec.
6/8, 7 PM latin song multistylist Marta Topferova and excellent understated band at 55 Bar.
6/8 first-class Irish folk instrumental/dance quartet New Time Ensemble (flute, guitar, fiddle and cello) play the Irish seisun at Dempsey’s, 8 PM; 6/10 they’re at the SoHo Gallery for Digital Art, 138 Sullivan St. at 8 PM, $15
6/8-13, 7 PM Evelyn Evelyn AKA Amanda Palmer of the Dresden Dolls and Jason Webley do their conjoined-twin ukelele comedy/rock thing at the Lucille Lortel Theatre, $25 adv tix ostensibly not sold out yet and very highly rec.
6/8 the Museum Mile Festival just gets shorter and shorter.This year the following museums are open for free 6-9 PM with Fifth Ave. turned into a pedestrian mall: El Museo del Barrio; The Museum of the City of New York; The Jewish Museum; Cooper-Hewitt, National Design Museum, Smithsonian Institution; National Academy Museum & School of Fine Arts; Solomon R. Guggenheim Museum; Neue Galerie New York; Goethe-Institut New York/German Cultural Center; and The Metropolitan Museum of Art.
6/8 Changing Modes – a really amazing, catchy, smart blend of Siouxsie-esque new wave, and oldschool art-rock – downstairs at Ella, 9 Ave. A. (the latin disco with the scary-looking bouncers outside), 9 PM, $9. They’re also at Cafe Bar, 32-90 36th St in Astoria for Make Music NY on 6/21 at 8.
6/9, 8 PM Norah Jones at Prospect Park Bandshell, free – suggest you go in the back entrance, to the right of the main gate, past the bathrooms – or linger beyond the fence in back, this will be packed to capacity very fast.
6/8, 9:30 PM Stateless: A Hip-Hop Vaudeville by Dan Wolf and Tommy Shepherd with Keith Pinto, music by Felonious and One Ring Zero at Joe’s Pub. Dan Wolf of Felonious discovered that his great-grandfather and great-uncle were Jewish vaudevillians in pre-WWII Germany, took some of their old songs and brought them forward about eighty years. Our Balkan music maven raves about it. Adv tix $15 highly suggested.
6/9 the Easy Star All-Stars – the crazy reggae crew responsible for Radiodread, Dub Side of the Moon and the reggae version of Sgt. Pepper – at Hiro Ballroom, adv tix. available at the Highline.
6/9, 9 PM the Tarantinos NYC play smart, original, diverse surf and soundtrack instrumentals at the Brooklyn Bowl, free.
6/9, 10:30 PM at Rodeo Bar there’s tongue-in-cheek, period-perfect early 50s style country from Susquehanna Industrial Tool & Die Co.
6/10 an absolutely sick triplebill at Union Hall: hillbilly chick satirists Menage a Twang at 8:30, the Debutante Hour lending some badly needed seriousness to the event and then the fearless, hilarious, sex-crazed faux girl-group punk-pop of Cudzoo & the Fagettes, $8, get there early because this will sell out.
6/10 pensive, atmospheric, often rustically haunting loop-driven art-rockers the Quavers at Barbes, 10 PM
6/11, 6 PM at Barbes violinist Marandi Hostetter, violist/violinist Pedro Vizzarro-Vallejos, cellist Eric Cooper and mezzo-soprano Sara Dougherty play works by Jai Vilnai: Pisces for string trio; selections from his Shakespeare Songs for string trio and mezzo; selections from Visual Percussion, a collaboration with artist Elizabeth Hamby of short pieces for live music and video; a setting of a text by Wyatt for mezzo and chamber quintet plus Whitney George’s Seven Sins for string trio.
6/11 saxophonist Marcus Strickland 7:30/9:30/11:30 at the Bar Next Door.
6/11, 9:30 PM at Smalls the Scott Reeves Band: Scott Reeves – trombone , Rich Perry – tenor sax , Mike Holober – piano , Mike McGuirk – bass , Andy Watson – drums. Reeves’ most recent album is an absolutely gorgeous, lyrical throwback to the golden age of the 50s, highly recommended.
6/11 Quintron & Miss Pussycat at Glasslands 10ish
6/11 the Budos Band play the Rocks Off Concert Cruise aboard the Temptress boarding at 6:30 and leaving from 41st St. and the river, adv tix $25 at the Highline box office highly recommended.
6/12 the Hetrick-Martin Institute’s benefit dance party at the Grey Gardens mansion in the Hamptons is SOLD OUT – no great surprise!
6/12 powerful slinky joyous haunting all-female virtuoso klezmer group Isle of Klezbos play a free outdoor show in the community garden on 12th St. between Ave A/B, 7 PM.
6/12, 7 PM psychedelic, hypnotic avant garde guitar quartet Dither’s cd release show at the Invisible Dog Art Center, 51 Bergen St., Cobble Hill, Brooklyn, F/G to Bergen St., “Highlights include Elliott Sharp performing selections from Octal for eight-string guitarbass, a solo bagpipe performance from progressive piper Matthew Welch, a collaboration between pianist Kathleen Supové and composer/guitarist Nick Didkovsky, and the Deprivation Orchestra of NY’s rendition of Eric km Clark’s Deprivation Music #1 for a large ensemble of hearing-deprived musicians! Dither will perform selections from their album, as well as the the world premiere of Eve Beglarian’s The Garden of Cyrus, Fred Frith’s Stick Figures performed by two players on six table-top guitars, and James Tenney’s rarely heard Septet for six guitars and electric bass” plus performances by Loud Objects, the extraordinary ambient chamber group Redhooker, Mantra Percussion and Florent Ghys, ridiculously cheap at $6.
6/12, 7 PM incorrigible extrovert and powerhouse soul singer Meg Braun – sort of the white Bettye LaVette – at Caffe Vivaldi.
6/12 imaginative, captivating, atmospheric alto player and big band jazz composer Jacam Manricks plays the Bar Next Door, 3 sets starting 8-ish.
6/12, 8 PM oldschool Cuban son done gorgeously low-register style with bass, baritone sax, tuba and baritone guitar by Gato Loco at Barbes
6/12, 8:30 PM New Orleans soul legend Allen Toussaint at Prospect Park Bandshell.
6/12, 9 PM a phenomenal night at Alwan for the Arts with multistylistic expat Syrian chanteuse Gaida and the amazing band that plays on her album: Zafer Tawil – kanun; George Dulin- piano; Amir ElSaffar – trumpet; Jennifer Vincent – bass; Tony de Vivo – percussion
6/12-13 the Undead Jazzfest at le Poisson Rouge, Kenny’s Castaways and Sullivan Hall: an unbelievable lineup of A-list, adventurous jazz groups for an unbeatable price. The two-day pass for $30 – roughly a third of what you’d spend at the Blue Note for a single act – is your best bet. Acts include the Alan Ferber Nonet, Ben Perowsky’s Moodswing Orchestra, Burnt Sugar The Arkestra Chamber, John Hollenbeck Large Ensemble, Matthew Shipp, Roswell Rudd & Lafayette Harris and many more, the complete list is here.
6/12, 10:15ish LES rockabilly/surf/punk legends Simon & the Bar Sinisters at Lakeside.
6/13 Chilean cumbia superstars Chico Trujillo play their cd release show at 8 PM at La Oveja Negra, 3438 38th St. in Astoria, 4th. fl of the Astoria Sports Complex on 38th St. between 34th and 35 Ave. right by the Kaufman Studios, right next to pizzeria uno, R/G/V to Steinway St. They’re also at Barbes on 6/14 at 8 PM (early arrival a must) opening for Chicha Libre!
6/13, 9 PM captivatingly dark Americana chanteuse Jessie Kilguss at Lakeside
6/13 Franco-Algerian punk/rai-rock legend Rachid Taha at Highline Ballroom, 9ish, adv tix very highly rec.
6/13 the NYCity Slickers play tight, soaring harmony-driven bluegrass at Rodeo Bar, 10:30 PM.
6/14 latin jazz guitar genius Juancho Herrera at the Bar Next Door, 8:30 PM
6/15, 7 PM a craftbrewing competition at Union Hall, free, open to the public 21+ with tasting of home and craft brews from top microbreweries. First prize: your recipe will be made into a kit marketed by Brooklyn Brew Shop and you get a day observing at Sixpoint Brewery; second prize is a $50 gift certificate to the shop. “Union Hall will then host two additional homebrewing competitions in August and October. June, August and October winners will compete in a holiday competition in December, which will determine who will get to brew their own winning recipe on Sixpoint’s pilot brewing system alongside the brewers. The resulting keg will then be transferred to Union Hall, where it will be served to all your friends and family during a private party.”
6/15 Nashville gothic with the Handsome Family at the Mercury, 9:30 PM, $15
6/16, 6:30 PM one of the new music highlights of the year: Frederic Rzewski plays Frederic Rzewski at le Poisson Rouge $20, adv tix highly rec. this will sell out.
6/16 oldschool hip-hop vet Big Daddy Kane at Von King Park in Brooklyn 8ish.
6/16-19 the Vijay Iyer Trio at Birdland sets 8:30/11 PM, $30 seating avail.
6/16 British vintage funk/soul revivalists the Heavy with Sharon Jones and the Dap-Kings at Bowery Ballroom.
6/16 fiery, original, occasionally noir rockabilly/surf trio Catspaw at P&G Bar, 380 Columbus Ave (at 78th St.), 11 PM
6/16, midnight-ish noir chanteuse Marissa Nadler at the Knitting Factory, adv tix $10 highly rec.
6/17 the NYC Jazz Festival starts; too many acts to list here. The complete schedule is here; choice acts listed below.
6/17, 6 PM at Puppets Jazz Bar Ralph Hamperian’s Tuba D’Amour followed at 9 by the Bill Ware Group and then the John McNeil Quartet at midnight.
6/17, 7 PM Tift Merritt – who if you haven’t been paying attention has sort of become New York’s answer to Shelby Lynne – at the Hiro Ballroom
6/17 at Zebulon, 9 PM guitarist/banjoist Brandon Seabrook’s Seabrook Power Plant (gotta love that name!) and ruthless jazz satirists Mostly Other People Do the Killing.
6/17, 10 PM tuneful, propulsive, intense janglerock songwriter Jennifer O’Connor at the Knitting Factory, $10.
6/17 funny, eerie bluespunks the Five Points Band at Rodeo Bar, 10:30 PM
6/18, 7:30 PM organ jazz guru Dr. Lonnie Smith at Prospect Park Bandshell.
6/18, 8 PM the Jazz Gallery Allstars: Claudia Acuña, Ambrose Akinmusire, Lage Lund, Gerald Clayton, Kendrick Scott, Ben Williams, Pedro Martinez, Miguel Zenón at Symphony Space $15.
6/18 the Boss Guitars play surf music classics and obscurities at Lakeside, 11 PM
6/19 the NY Brewfest goes 3:30 until 8 PM on Governors Island, tix $55 all you can drink micros and gourmet beer (300+ vendors!) plus free music plus water taxi to/from the island , tix available at Heartland Brewery locations.
6/19, 8:15 PM, the Thomas Piercy Trio – expertly passionate interpreters of the Astor Piazzzolla canon – play the cd release show for their new one at Caffe Vivaldi.
6/19, 9 PM at Alwan for the Arts Turkish piano innovator Hakan Ali Toker who like Steve Nieve will play an improvisation based on dubious audience suggestions and make them brilliant, $15
6/19, 9 PM retro soul star Eli Paperboy Reed at the Bell House, $12 adv tix rec.
6/19, 10 PM the New Pornographers at Terminal 5, adv tix $30 at the Mercury box office highly rec.
6/19 ferocious, often funny Americana punk with Spanking Charlene at Lakeside, 11 PM.
6/20, 8 PM Talib Kweli plus Jean Grae at the Brooklyn Bowl, $5 (yup – five bucks!) getin line and get there early
6/20, 11 PM awe-inspiring oldschool country singer/writer Greg Garing – as charismatic a rockabilly pianist as he is a bluegrass guitarist – at the Rockwood
6/21 it’s Make Music New York – free street performances all day by all kinds of absurdly good bands and artists. We’ll put up a separate page with highlights once there’s some semblance of a schedule available.
6/21, 7:30/9:30 PM Darcy James Argue’s Secret Society at Dizzy’s Club $20/$10 stud.
6/21 the ferociously charismatic gypsy-punk Vera Beren’s Gothic Chamber Blues Ensemble , noir accordionist Marin Rice and big indie buzz band the Walking Hellos at at Small Beast at the Delancey, 9ish.
6/21 the Jentsch Group Large plays a rare performance at Tea Lounge in Park Slope – they’ll be doing the entire lush, lavish, Pink Floyd meets Ellington-style Cycles Suite album starting with movements one through three at 9 PM and then the final three at 10:30 PM
6/22 chamber music with the exceedingly popular Eroica Trio at the World Financial Ctr., 7 PM, free, early arrival advised
6/22, 7 PM Eddie Palmieri y la Perfecta II at Soundview Park in the Bronx.
6/22 Custard Wally – unsung oldschool heroes of obscene, sexually charged, hilarious Brooklyn punk and garage rock – at Trash Bar, 9 PM
6/23, 7 PM ex-Genesis guitarist Steve Hackett followed by Annie Haslam’s theatrical art-rock legends Renaissance at Rockefeller Park, free.
6/23, 7 PM at Central Park Summerstage the McCoy Tyner Quartet feat. Ravi Colrane, Esperanza Spalding and Francisco Mela plus Stanley Clarke’s band opening, which you’ll have to stand/suffer through if you want to see the headliner.
6/23, 8 PMish Tortoise at le Poisson Rouge $22 adv tix rec.
6/23 clever, fun 80s style synth-pop with Hank & Cupcakes 9 PM at the Brooklyn Bowl, free
6/23 Sister Sparrow & the Dirty Birds play tastefully bluesy, funky stuff at Sullivan Hall, 10ish
6/24, 7 PM Conjunto Clasico at St. Mary’s Park in the Bronx, free.
6/24 the Northside Festival starts in Williamsburg. Last year’s was overhyped to the max; hopefully this year’s will be better. Too many acts to list here – the main schedule page is here; as dates and venues are announced we’ll list anything good we see (Polvo is playing!).
6/24 Jason Moran and the Bandwagon with Mary Halvorson and Ron Miles at the Jazz Standard, 7:30/9:30 PM, $15
6/24, 7:30 PM at the Parkside: the haunting, jazzy Erica Smith & the 99 Cent Dreams.
6/24, 7:30 PM Orquesta Buena Vista Social Club (what’s left of the original crew) featuring ageless cantante Omara Portuondo and Nelida Tirado at Prospect Park Bandshell.
6/24 boisterious (ok, thunderous) Bahian dance band Dende & Hahahaes at Barbes, 10 PM.
6/25 a cool latin doublebill at Barbes, 8 PM: Marta Topferova, who writes rustically tinged originals in innumerable vintage styles, followed by Spanglish Fly, who play deliriously danceable oldschool latin soul and bugalu at 10
6/25 downtempo jazz/ambient grooves with Soul Cycle at BAM Cafe 9 PM.
6/25 latin piano monster Jason Lindner & Breeding Ground feat. Pangeotis Andreou, Mazz Swift and others 9/10:30 PM at the Jazz Gallery, $20
6/26 desert blues titans Tinariwen at Central Park Summerstage, 3 PM d00rs.
6/26, 8 PM second-wave punk with the New Bomb Turks’ reunion show at the Bell House, $12.
6/26 the Okbari Middle Eastern Ensemble play “Ottoman classical instrumental and vocal music, along with Turkish folk and Arabic contemporary compositions, including original works by their late teacher, oud master and composer Udi Alan Shavarsh Bardezbanian” at 9 PM at Alwan for the Arts, $15
6/26 East Village Pharmacy play imaginative, psychedelic dub and reggae at Shrine, 9 PM.
6/26 legendary mod punks the Reducers – the American answer to the Jam – at Lakeside, 11 PM.
6/26 smart, diverse, socially aware African-style roots reggae with Meta & the Cornerstones at Zebulon, midnight-ish
6/27 the Bang on a Can Marathon starts at noon at the World Financial Ctr.: performances include “U.S. premiere of Fausto Romitelli’s Professor Bad Trip performed by Talea Ensemble; a Bang on a Can All-Stars’ premiere with Mira Calix; African crossover innovators Burkina Electric; Balinese Gamelan; music from Kyrgyzstan and more!”
6/27, 3 PM Gil Scott-Heron at Central Park Summerstage
6/27 Wintersleep at Bowery Ballroom – happy and jangly with your stereotypical off-key indie vocals, but a real lyrical menace and imaginative guitar/keyboard textures. If you wish the Decemberists could write melodies, you’ll love Wintersleep.
6/29-7/4 the JD Allen Quartet (JD Allen – tenor; Jeremy Pelt – trumpet, Gregg August – bass, Rodney Green – drums) at the Vanguard. Of all the jazz composers working right now, this guy is at the pinnacle, the absolutely top of his terse, tuneful game. See him now before you can’t afford it anymore.
6/29, 7:30 PM at Damrosch Park out back of Lincoln Center a Haitian bill feat. Ansanm, Emeline Michel, Beethova Obas, BélO, Zili Misik, acts will probbly appear in reverse order.
6/30 Buru Style feat. Toussaint Libertor play African roots reggae 9 PM at Rose Bar
6/30, 11 PM, tunefully artsy indie pop with the Secret History at the Bell House $10
7/1 the Cannabis Cup Band play “a special tribute to the classic revolutionary vinyl lp reggae anthems of the ‘60’s & ’70’s” on the Rocks Off Concert Cruise aboard the Temptress boarding at 6:30 and leaving from 41st St. and the river, first hundred tix are $20, after that adv tix $25, highly rec. at the Highline box office.
7/1, 7:30 PM Margot Leverett and the Klezmer Mountain Boys at the Jewish Museum, 92nd St. at 5th Ave., $15/$12 stud.
7/2, 8 PM at Barbes: “House of Stride. Part performance-project, part-band, House of Stride From wanders from classic stride piano to old-school cabaret gems and re-imagined pop classics. With Allison Leyton-Brown – piano; Russ Meissner – drums; Jim Whitney – upright bass and special guest chanteuse Daria Grace.”
7/3, 3 PM the second Turkish Woodstock at Central Park Summerstage with the Sounds of Turkey feat. Kenan Dogulu, Mor ve Otesi, Ilhan Ersahin’s Istanbul Sessions with Burhan Ocal and Tulug Tirpan, and Sukriye Tutkun.
7/6 rustic, fun, charming Norwegian oldtimey Applachian all-girl quartet Katzenjammer at the Mercury.
7/7 half past noon Left on Red at Liberty Park, downtown Broadway and Liberty Sts.
7/8 Phosphorescent – sort of the teens version of gently rootsy early Wilco – plays Pier 54 at 14th St., gates at 6 for the diehards or fans of early 70s style El Lay dad-pop band Dawes.
7/8, 7:30 PM the extraordinary pan-Balkan punk jazz of Ansambl Mastika at the Jewish Museum, 92nd St. at 5th Ave., $15/$12 stud.
7/9 hypnotic, hauntingly jangly southwestern gothic-tinged Americana rockers Tandy at Lakeside, 11 PM
7/9, 11 PM oldschool 90s LES indie stars Versus at the Bell House $17.50 adv tix rec.
7/10 Mexican punk/ska legends Maldita Vecindad at Central Park Summerstage 4-ish, doors at 3.
7/10, 7 PM dark, wickedly smart original cello rockers Rasputina at le Poisson Rouge, $15
7/11 Jimmy Cliff at Central Park Summerstage, 5-ish, doors at 3
7/12, 7 PM roots reggae legend Burning Spear at Rockefeller Park, free
7/14, 6 PM the Mad Jazz Hatters play oldtimey stuff at Bryant Park, free
7/14 Naomi Shelton & the Gospel Queens at the Stuyvesant Town Oval, 7 PM.
7/14, 8 PM in Central Park on the Great Lawn the NY Philharmonic feat. Branford Marsalis, saxophone and Andrey Boreyko, conductor plays Liadov – Baba-Yaga; Glazunov – Concerto for Alto Saxophone; Schulhoff/Bennett – Hot-Sonate for Alto Saxophone and Orchestra Prokofiev – Romeo and Juliet (selections)
7/14 reggae crooner Barrington Levy at BB King’s.
7/15, half past noon jazz pianist Emmett Cohen on the World Financial Ctr. plaza.
7/15 Funkmaster Flex and EPMD at Queensbridge Park, Queens 7 PM.
7/15, 7:30 PM the Sexteto Rodriguez Cuban-Jewish All Stars at the Jewish Museum, 92nd St. at 5th Ave., $15/$12 stud.
7/16, 7 AM (?) the Go Go’s play Good Morning America, outdoors, live – hardcore fans enter Central Park at 69th Street/5th Ave.
7/16, 8 PM the Universal Thump (Greta Gertler’s band) feat. bassist Jonathan Maron from Groove Collective plus a string quartet plays Barbes. Gertler has been a great songwriter for the better part of a decade and their forthcoming album promises to be her best effort yet.
7/20, 5 PM Naomi Shelton & The Gospel Queens in the parking lot out back of City Winery, free
7/20-25 Jamaican piano jazz titan Monty Alexander at Dizzy’s Club.
7/21 reggae covers of Radiohead, Floyd and the Fab Four by the devious Easy Star All-Stars at the Stuyvesant Town Oval, 7 PM
7/22 Antibalas at Castle Clinton, 7 PM, free, tix two per person handed out to those in line at 4 PM.
7/23 energetic female-fronted garage riff-rock/noise-rock with Loose Limbs at South St. Seaport time TBA.
7/23 smart, fiery latin rockers Outernational at 7 PM at Highline Ballroom followed by oi-punk legends GBH, adv tix $17 highly rec.
7/23, 8 PM at Bargemusic the Voxare Quartet: Emily Ondracek, violin, Galina Zhdanova, violin, Erik Peterson, viola, Adrian Daurov, cello) Riley – String Quartet; Lou Harrison – String Quartet Set; Hamza El Din – Escalay (The Water Wheel); Riley – Mystic Birds Waltz, Sunrise of the Planetary Dream Collector, tix $25/$20 srs/$10 stud.
7/23, 9:30 PM the Sadies at Bowery Ballroom
7/23 Band of Outsiders at Lakeside 11 PM
7/24 Dave Campbell was one of the finest drummers in New York, a well-loved and influential figure. There’s a memorial concert at the Parkside starting around 8 with the surviving members of bands he played with: psychedelic rockers Love Camp 7, noir jazzy Americana group Erica Smith & the 99 Cent Dreams, the high-energy, punkish K’s and others.
7/25, 3 PM Fool’s Gold, Burkina Electric and Bassekou Kouyate and Ngoni Ba at Central Park Summerstage.
7/27 the Mingus Orchestra at Washington Square Park 8 PM
7/28, 6:30 PM outdoors in back of Lincoln Center the subversive 1960s play No Snakes in This Grass by James Magnuson, free
7/29, 7:30 PM at Damrosch Park out back of Lincoln Center a Haitian bill feat. Ansanm, Emeline Michel, Beethova Obas, BélO, Zili Misik, acts will probbly appear in reverse order
7/30, 11 PM, the ageless, eternally relevant Avengers – who were the American Sex Pistols thirty years ago – at the Bell House, $25.
7/31 starting at 2 PM on the plaza at Lincoln Center a diverse afternoon of veteran Detroit artists including Eddie Kirkland, the Velvelettes with the Party Stompers, Spyder Turner, Dennis Coffey, the Motor City Soul Revue featuring Melvin Davis, and the Gories.
7/31 at at Damrosch Park out back of Lincoln Center the Motor City madness continues with Mitch Ryder & The Detroit Wheels, ? & the Mysterians, Death, no idea who is headlining although Death really ought to…he will eventually, might as well put him at the top of the bill now….
7/31, 9ish Sonic Youth free at Prospect Park Bandshell – this is one you’ll have to hear from behind the fence out back because no matter what time you show up it’ll be a mobscene.
8/1 Los Straitjackets and the Asylum Street Spankers, 4 PM on the plaza at Lincoln Center
8/3, 7 PM Elvis Martinez plays his bachata hits at Highbridge Park.
8/4-8, 7 PM outdoors behind Lincoln Center, Asphalt Orchestra marches and plays world premieres byYoko Ono and David Byrne/Annie Clark
8/5, 7 PM Gil Scott-Heron at Marcus Garvey Park
8/7, 7 PM the Budos Band and Sharon Jones & the Dap Kings at Prospect Park Bandshell.
8/7, 7 PM Mucca Pazza and Balkan Beat Box at Damrosch Park out back of Lincoln Center.
8/8, 2 PM haunting Greek rebetika band the Maeandros Ensemble, the lushly slinky vintage Egyptian film music revivalists Zikrayat and Yuri Yunakov on the plaza at Lincoln Center
8/12 the creepy, artsy, extraordinarily popular Deerhunter at Pier 54 at 14th St., gates at 6, show starts at 7 with the richkid eunuch rock of Real Estate which you will have to stand through in order to see the headliners.
8/13 the Gypsy Tabor Festival – details TK – last year’s was one of the best lineups ever in the NYC area
8/14, 3 PM Bachata Fest at Central Park Summerstage with Andy Andy, Luis Miguel de la Amargue, Elvis Martinez and Alexandria.
8/14, 7:30 PM at Damrosch Park out back of Lincoln Center a major moment in nuyorican music history: Larry Harlow’s La Raza Latina, A Salsa Suite makes its New York premiere, conducted by Larry Harlow with Rubén Blades, Adonis Puentes plus Orchestra and Chorus and the Bobby Sanabria Big Band
8/15, 3 PM Blitz the Ambassador, 7th Octave and Public Enemy at Central Park Summerstage.
8/22 the Specials at Central Park Summerstage, 5ish, doors at 3
8/24 classic-style roots reggae with Groundation on the Rocks Off Concert Cruise aboard the Jewel, boarding at 7 at the FDR and 23rd St., adv tix $30 at the Highline box office highly rec.
8/28, 3 PM the Charlie Parker Jazz Festival at Marcus Garvey Park featuring McCoy Tyner, Jimmy Scott, Jason Moran and the Bandwagon and Revive da Live: Charlie Parker Revisited.
8/29, 3 PM the Charlie Parker Jazz Festival at Tompkins Square Park with James Moody, Catherine Russell, Vijay Iyer and the JD Allen Trio.
9/1 the John Farnsworth Quartet outdoors at Bryant Park, 6 PM, free.
9/23, 11 PM Those Darlins at Bowery Ballroom $13 adv tix highly rec.
9/26, 3 PM at Central Park Summerstage: the Black Sea Roma Festival featuring Mahala Rai Banda, Tecsoi Banda, Selim Sesler & the NY Gypsy All-Stars and the Yuri Yunakov Ensemble
The best 666 songs of alltime countdown continues every day, all the way to #1. Friday’s song is #90:
The Church – My Little Problem
Junkie equivocation disguised as vengeful anti-record label diatribe, over some of the most gorgeous layers of jangly Rickenbacker guitar ever recorded. “Remember this day, remember this room, remember this scene and I’ll remember you!” From Sometime Anywhere, 1994.
The best 666 songs of alltime countdown continues every day, all the way to #1. Thursday’s song is #91:
Pulp – I Spy
Every workingman’s fantasy – to screw the rich guy’s piece of ass. Even better – spirit her away to a better place, away from the evil boss, and turn her against him. All this and more set to a deliciously sweeping, epic synth-noir spy theme. From Different Class, 1996.
Los Angeles band Very Be Careful have built a well-deserved reputation as sort of the Gogol Bordello of Colombian music, both for their delirious, hypnotic live shows and the snotty yet absolutely authentic attitude of their albums. No disrespect to Carlos Vives, but Very Be Careful take vallenato back to its roots in the north, to back when, just like roots reggae, it was the party music of the drug underworld – it doesn’t sound anything like him. Which makes sense: Very Be Careful’s slinky cumbia pulse has a lot in common with late 60s Jamaican rocksteady, the otherworldly swirl of the accordion is nothing if not psychedelic and so is the eerie insectile scrape of the guacharaca, the beat of the caja vallenata and clatter of the cowbell. Although if you asked this band for more cowbell, you’d probably get one upside the head – they bring a menacing, hallucinatory party vibe a lot like the Pogues back in the day when Shane MacGowan was drinking at peak capacity but still lucid. That considered, their new album Escape Room works equally well for the drinkers, dancers and stoners in the crowd. It’s all originals along with three rustic, boisterous covers, with the same resilient-bordering-on-aggressive feel of their 2009 live album, the deliciously titled Horrible Club.
The opening track, La Furgoneta (The Van) is a cumbia, its catchy descending progression carried by Ricardo Guzman’s accordion as his brother Arturo swings low with broken chords on the bass, way behind the beat in a style similar to great reggae bassists like Family Man Barrett. It segues into a hypnotic, two-chord number, La Abeja (The Bee), followed by the fast, bouncy, wickedly catchy La Alergia (Allergies), accordion playing major on minor, vividly evoking a horror-movie summer haze.
The first of the covers by legendary vallenato composer Calixto Ochoa, Playas Marinas (Sandy Beaches) is a party song, a staggering series of flourishes as the bass runs a catchy octave riff over and over. The other, Manantial del Alma (Springtime of the Soul) makes a sly attempt at seduction, the guy just wanting the girl to let him play for her. Another oldschool number, by Abel Antonio Villa, evokes a guy’s heartbreak, vocals on the verse trading off with accordion on the chorus – although it’s a party song without any real heartbroken vibe, at least musically.
The rest of the album is originals, and they’re great. El Hospital sounds like something the Clash might have done on Sandinista, wry and cynical. La Broma (The Joke) has the accordion playing minor on major this time, to equally ominous effect. The metaphorically charged La Gata Perdida (Lost Cat) has the poor critter going round in circles: “I think this killed me.” They end it with the upbeat La Sorpresa (Surprise) and then the aptly titled, psychedelic El Viajero del Tiempo (Time Traveler), bass playing three on four beneath insistent, trance-inducing minor-key accordion. You don’t have to speak Spanish to enjoy this, although you won’t get the clever, often snide, pun-laden lyrics. But as dance music, it doesn’t get any better than this – it’s out now on Barbes Records. Another reviewer had problems with this cd, calling it unsubtle and complaining about being blasted by the accordion, to which the only conceivable response is, who wouldn’t want to be blasted by an accordion? Very Be Careful play Highline Ballroom on May 23 – also keep an eye out for their annual Brooklyn 4th of July rooftop party (they got their start here, playing in the subway).
It could have been billed as Schoenberg and His Descendents, a beautifully uneasy, otherworldly upper westside evening of art-songs and some austerely compelling instrumentals that more than did justice to the composer’s legacy. The Loki Ensemble’s mezzo-soprano Abigail Fischer has developed not only a great affinity but also a strikingly resonant aptitude for Schoenberg’s paradigm-shifting Book of Hanging Gardens, Op. 18, an otherworldly suite based on a series of heartbroken, imagistic poems by Stefan George. The group played four of those songs: on number two and eleven , pianists Jacob Greenberg and then Wes Matthews wrenched every brooding, moody atonality from the score as Fischer brought a remarkably visceral unease, longing and intensity to the vocals. In the stylized world of classical legit voice, individuality is not an easy quality to channel, but Fischer put her own steely, forcefully indelible stamp on everything she touched. To liven things up further, the group added their own instrumental improvisations, notably tenor saxophonist Noah Kaplan (of marvelously creepy art-song practitioners Dollshot), whose precise yet breathy, baritone-like timbres matched the murk perfectly. Greenberg hinted at an McCoy Tyner bluesiness in his solo on song fourteen, number fifteen dramatically juxtaposing Fischer’s pyrotechnics against Matthews’ plaintive minimalism.
A very recent work for piano trio and vocals (based on an Octavio Paz text), Reinaldo Moya’s La Rima, with the JACK Quartet’s Christopher Otto on violin and Kevin McFarland on cello made a solid segue, strings swooping over a pensive piano rumble, building to a contrast between terse, incisive piano methodically punching against sostenuto atmospherics. A world premiere, William Cooper’s An Den Wassern Zu Babel was an intense and poignant interpretation of Psalm 137 (you may know it from Bach or the Melodians’ By the Rivers of Babylon). Cooper explained how affecting he found the end of the passage, which concludes with “Blessed are those who bash the bones of their children against the rocks,” and while the music, with considerable echoes of Bartok, never reached that level of violence, there was considerable anger and even more frustration. Over the course of seven movements, pianist Liza Stepanova worked the variations of a simple ascending progression lyrically and dynamically, through a sad, angry march, a hypnotically chilling, late Rachmaninovian-style passage and then the methodical, wounded sway of the final movement which ended sudden and cold.
The final piece, Nathan Shields’ Out of the Cradle, Endlessly Rocking set text by Hart Crane and Walt Whitman to severe, sometimes acidic, evocatively wavelike piano played by Ed Neeman, Fischer speaking the final stanzas with a dramatic flair. The counterpoint between vocals and piano was both striking and hypnotic, the unease of the strings adding to the menace (the theme ponders the role of the ocean as both nurturer and destroyer), but as assured and engaged as the performers were, ultimately this was Horse Latitudes: awkward instant, and the first horse of many was jettisoned. What a treat it would be to hear this without the poetry – or with vocalese instead!
The best 666 songs of alltime countdown continues every day, all the way to #1. Wednesday’s song is #92:
The Church – Lost My Touch
Frontman Steve Kilbey’s first and only attempt at rap was successful beyond anyone’s dreams. In this case, it’s a snide anti-record label rant. It’s on the vastly underrated 1994 double album Sometime Anywhere.
Chris Burton Jacome and Lawson Rollins are both gifted acoustic guitarists with individual voices, each with an innovative, flamenco-inspired approach and a new album out. Jacome imaginatively blends both rock and Middle Eastern melodies within a traditional gypsy flamenco framework, while Rollins brings a biting flamenco edge to his groove-oriented world jazz instrumentals. If flamenco or gypsy guitar is your thing, both of these guys should be on your radar, particularly since each has his best days ahead of him.
Jacome is a feel-good story: as a teenager, he wanted to be Eddie Van Halen, but was happily disabused of that fantasy when he discovered flamenco. He immersed himself in it the old-fashioned way, learning from the source from Roma in Spain. His new album Levanto is a fullscale ballet, a theme and variations complete with dancing – as a purist, he’s continuing a centuries-old tradition that blends music with dance, legend and storytelling. Dynamics are his strong suit: he’s the rare guitarist you actually want to hear more of (lots more of, actually – as with Rollins, he’s sometimes conspicuously absent on his own album). Backed by the vivid, incisive violin of Jennifer Mayer, Adrian Goldenthal on bass, Kristofer Hill on percussion and a trio of brassy vocalists (Chayito Champion, Olivia Rojas and Vanessa Lopez), the group alternate between fiery dance instrumentals, dramatic ballads, poignantly fingerpicked passages and a lot of tap-dancing. Jacome makes artful use of the Arabic hijaz scale as well as interpolating catchy rock passages within the compositions’ stately architecture. The problem is that as an album, the segues are jarring – just when a song seems about to sail joyously over the edge, here come those dancers again. It’s easily solved once you upload the tracks and sequence them yourself (it should be emphasized that fans of oldschool flamenco will have no problem with this; however, a lot of momentum gets lost if you just leave the tracks in their original order). What this really should have been is a DVD – it leaves the impression that there’s a whole side to the spectacle that doesn’t translate if the audio is all you have.
Rollins comes at flamenco as a jazz player with blazing speed and a wealth of original ideas: by the time the fifth track begins, he’s delved into rhumba, samba, Cuban son and back again. Like Jacome, he has an inspired cast of characters behind him including Charlie Bisharat on violin, Dave Bryant on percussion, the great Iranian composer Kayhan Kalhor guesting on kamancheh on one track and Airto Moreira, Flora Purim and their daughter Diana Booker contributing backing vocals. Rollins tosses off one lightning phrase after another, sometimes handing them off to Bisharat, other times to the wryly muted trumpet of Jeff Elliott. He imaginatively works the traditional descending scale of flamenco music in all kinds of new ways, even adding some tersely textural electric guitar beauty to the title track. The highlight of the cd is the triptych at the end, the Migration Suite, upping the ante with biting, Middle Eastern flavored arrangements and motifs. The problem here is the production: when there are horns here, they’re so compressed that they sound like a synthesizer, an effect that compromises all the playing here, even Rollins’. Where the Brazilian vocalists might have been able to contribute something memorable, they’re as buried in the mix as the Jordanaires on an old Elvis record. Even Kalhor gets flattened out. There may be a reason behind this: one of the cuts here was a “most added” track on easy-listening radio earlier in the year. Which on one level is fine, Rollins deserves to be heard – but in a context that does justice to the fire and imagination of his playing, his compositions and the peers he plays with. More than anything, this reminds of the work of another quality guitarist, Peter White, whose series of world music-inspired acoustic instrumental albums about 20 years ago typecast him as an easy-listening, smooth jazz guy rather than the world class player he is.
Lucky Arizonans can see Chris Burton Jacome play the cd release show for this one at the Chandler Center for the Arts, 250 N Arizona Ave. in Chandler on May 2.
By turns bitter, brutal and gorgeously anthemic, Kasey Anderson’s latest cd is a defiantly restless, kick-ass heartland rock record. It rips the heart out of the myth of idyllic smalltown life. Over and over again, the characters here make it clear that ultimately they want one thing and one thing alone: to get out. The onetime big fish in a little pond in the title track explains it with a casual grace: there was no epiphany, no paradigm shift, he just got sick of spinning his wheels. The other players in these Russell Banks-style narratives don’t get off nearly so easily.
Kasey Anderson comes across as something of the missing link between Steve Earle and Joe Pug: he’s got Earle’s breathy drawl and knack for a catchy hook and Pug’s uncanny sense of metaphor. Eric “Roscoe” Ambel’s production sets layers and layers of guitar tersely jangling, twanging and roaring beneath Anderson’s intense, impassioned vocals, occasionally fleshed out with keyboards or accordion. Drummer Julian MacDonough propels it along with some of the most hauntingly terse playing on a rock record in recent years. The opening track, Bellingham Blues sets the tone: “I kept walking down these streets, searching for someone I would never meet,” Anderson half-snarls, half-whispers, perfectly encapsulizing the frustration and also the fear that comes with knowing that you’ve been somewhere you never wanted to be for far too long.
The second cut sounds like a blend of Mellencamp and Everclear (Mellencamp on Everclear, maybe?), followed by the wry, cynical Sooner or Later, a road song that could be Springsteen but with better production values. Holed up in some seedy motel, “She lights roman candles while he bleeds out,” yet there’s a sad determinism at work here: no matter how much resolve she may pull together, sooner or later she’s going to be going back to him.
With simple guitar, cello and a slow, hypnotic rimshot beat, Home is a chilling if ultimately encouraging reminder to a once-promising friend to get out and stay out: “Where you hang your hat, that’s where you get caught,” Anderson reminds. The big blazing backbeat rocker Torn Apart offers the same advice to an ex-girlfriend in less than friendly terms:
You’ve been spitting out nails and knocking back whiskey
You’ve got a new tattoo that says you don’t miss me
That highwire act makes me so bored I choke
Everybody’s laughing at the joke…
Everybody wants to see you smile
Maybe you should shut your mouth for a little while
Get out before you get torn apart
Possibly the most vivid track here is the searing I Was a Photograph, which follows the wartime and post-discharge struggles of Lance Cpl. James Blake Miller, the “Marlboro Man” Iraq war veteran immortalized in the famous Luis Sinco photo.
The closest Anderson gets to optimism is on the final track, and the two halfhearted seduction ballads here. The narrator in The Leavin’ Kind ends up undone by his own decency, and he knows it:
The devil’s in the details
I ain’t so hard to find
Go on, disappear, Ill be standing right here
I’m not the leavin’ kind
“Some things you can bury, that don’t mean they’re dead,” he reminds in From Now On: “You always said you were a hopeless romantic, well here’s that hopeless romance you’ve been waiting for.”
The album closes with the death-obsessed, metaphor- and reverb-drenched, practically eight-minute epic Real Gone, Ambel’s offhandedly savage guitar pyrotechnics like high-beams throughout a long, unfulfilling, uneasy road trip that ends just as unresolved as it began. Hopefully there’ll be more coming soon. You’ll see this one high up on our 50 best albums of the year list in December. Kasey Anderson plays Lakeside on May 1 at around 10:30 on a killer bill with the Roscoe Trio and Chip Robinson.