Lucid Culture

JAZZ, CLASSICAL MUSIC AND THE ARTS IN NEW YORK CITY

Album of the Day 6/10/11

Every day, our 1000 best albums of all time countdown continues all the way to #1. Friday’s album is #599:

Angie Pepper & the Passengers – It’s Just That I Miss You

The greatest voice ever to come out of Australia, Angie Pepper was the frontwoman in the late 70s janglerock band the Passengers, an edgy, wickedly tuneful band who would have been famous beyond their home turf had the master tapes for their one album not gone AWOL. For years, the only Passengers album was a 1986 release of tinny but still gorgeous rehearsal recordings; this 2000 reissue collects the original late 70s masters along with Pepper’s first 1978 Aussie hit, Frozen World (written by her husband, Radio Birdman mastermind Deniz Tek) plus additional material originally released on Tek’s 1988 Orphan Tracks collection. Pepper can say more in a wary bent note than most can in a whole album, best exemplified in the righteous rage of Last Chance, when she finally, finally cuts loose at the end. There’s also the sultry, Doorsy Miss You Too Much; the garage rock stomp No Way Out; the early new wave Love Execution, and the haunting pop anthems Face with No Name and My Sad Day among the thirteen tracks here. Pepper (and her talented daughter Hana) continue to record and occasionally play live along with Tek. Here’s a random torrent via Striped Sunlight.

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June 10, 2011 Posted by | lists, Music, music, concert, rock music | , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

The Pleasure Kills Are Pure Pleasure

Bay area rockers the Pleasure Kills’ new punk-pop album Bring Me a Match is a time warp from the days before autotune, before nonsense syllables replaced real lyrics in radio pop songwriting. There’s not a single bad song here. The tunes are irresistibly catchy and pack a punch, their signature sound blending distorted, melodic punk guitar with swooshy organ. The wounded wail of Lydiot, their frontwoman, has a regret-tinged phrasing like the Go-Go’s Belinda Carlisle except that she sings on key. At their best they evoke Angie Pepper’s legendary Australian proto-punk band the Passengers.

The opening cut Dancing on My Bed is a Ramones-style stomp with sweeping synth – “I’m stomping on my phone, I wanna be alone,” Lydiot insists: she may be all by herself, but she’s damned if she won’t have fun anyway. The title track is sort of Blondie gone punk; I Want You isn’t the Dylan hit, but a riff-rocking garage-punk song with some perfectly nasty Scott Asheton-style rolls on the drums. The strongest, and most original song here, is Hearts Run Out, with its wicked, catchy, growling guitar hook. Everything Lydiot sees reminds her of something from a dead affair: “I can never go home.” It wouldn’t be out of place on an album by legendary Milwaukee powerpop band the Shivvers.

Another standout cut is Modern Problems – with its snaky organ lines and ruthless pummelling drive, it’s like Radio Birdman at their most pop. Heartbreak in Space is a candy-coated punk-pump smash; Victoria isn’t a cover of the Kinks classic, but instead a jagged early 80s punk/new wave song and an insanely catchy chorus hook that fades out. They go back to the Radio Birdman pop, if not quite as intensely, with Ammunition, followed by the casually snide Bag of Bones, which bears some resemblance to post-X bands like Spanking Charlene. The album closes with And Me, nicking the intro from Agent Orange’s Living in Darkness, then launching into into an unstoppable punk/pop stomp with a surprise cold ending. It’s not an insult to say that if this had been released thirty years ago, an entire subculture would now regard it as a cult classic. Play it loud. San Francisco fans can catch the Pleasure Kills’ next show at Hemlock Tavern, 1131 Polk St. between Post and Sutter with Paul Collins’ Beat on 9/25 at 9.

September 15, 2010 Posted by | Music, music, concert, review, Reviews, rock music | , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

Song of the Day 8/21/09

Every day, our top 666 songs of alltime countdown gets one step closer to #1. Friday’s song is #341:

Angie Pepper – Last Chance

Frontwoman of Australian new wave legends the Passengers – still active as an acoustic trio – Angie Pepper remains one of the world’s most potently captivating voices, perhaps even more compelling than she was during her band’s brief late 70s/early 80s heyday. This song was written by her husband, Radio Birdman mastermind Deniz Tek, originally released on Tek’s Orphan Tracks lp, 1988. When she finally drops her tightlipped composure and cuts loose at the end of the song, she will give you chills: “This might be your last chance!”

August 20, 2009 Posted by | lists, Lists - Best of 2008 etc., Music, music, concert | , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

Song of the Day 4/16/09

Every day, our top 666 songs of alltime countdown gets one step closer to #1. Thursday’s song is #468:

The Passengers – My Sad Day

The legendary Australian new wave pioneers’ frontwoman Angie Pepper once said that she meant every word she sang, a claim that was never more apparent on this anguished yet catchy 1979 pop song blending jangly guitar with ominous Doorsy organ. From the 2001 It’s Just That I Miss You reissue compilation on the Aussie Citadel label, also on the French Revenge cd of rehearsal outtakes, floating around in mp3-land. The group remains active, releasing the haunting, mostly acoustic cd In the Garden of Good & Evil late last year as a trio in Australia.  

April 16, 2009 Posted by | lists, Lists - Best of 2008 etc., Music, music, concert | , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

Top Ten Songs of the Week 3/16/09

We do this every Tuesday. It’s a mix of new favorites and random discoveries made while researching our constantly updated NYC Live Music Calendar. Very possible that you will see some of these songs here on our Top 100 Songs of 2009 list at the end of the year, if the world hasn’t ended by then…every link here will take you to each individual track except for #s 1 and 10.

 

1. System Noise – Hair & Nails

Deliriously catchy, typically eerie fare from these ferocious rockers, like the Talking Heads gone completely phantasmagorical. Is this about a woman beautifying herself…or is is about the two parts of the body that continue to grow after death? Sarah Mucho’s gleefully eerie voice provides a hint. Unreleased, but they’ll probably play it live tomorrow at the Delancey at 9.  

 

2. Beluga – Cowboy Boots

This is a song that needed to be written.  “Everybody hates you, everybody hates you, everybody hates you because you’re such a bitch.” The ferocious all-female rockers play the cd release show for their new one at the Loving Cup Cafe on N 6th in Williamsburg (in the back gallery) on 3/20.

 

3. The Moonlighters – Night Smoke

New York’s reigning oldtimey band have some delicious new stuff up on their myspace and this is one of them, a bossa beat, characteristically beautiful harmonies from Bliss Blood and Cindy Ball and Mark Deffenbaugh’s stinging steel guitar.

 

4. Abby Barrett – Stillborn

Big, dark, uneasy, oldtimey-flavored 6/8 ballad flavored with reverb guitar, banjo and piano from the Boston chanteuse. And then it morphs into a big art-rock song like the Church or Pink Floyd. Wow.  

 

5. The Passengers – I Bend but Do Not Break

Characteristically wrenching, haunting vocals from Angie Pepper and a resolute, defiant song. This is a new one from the regrouped acoustic version of the legendary Australian band.

 

6. Royal Chant – Petrograd

Another Aussie band. How do we find these people? So random, it’s hard to explain. This is nice post-REM jangle and clang. Also check out Bellevue, their tribute to life in the loony bins.

 

7. Lullapop – Unstable

Gorgeous acoustic triphop from the Polish-American siren, sort of a more guitarish take on what Madder Rose was doing back in the 90s.

 

8. Sam Ben-Meir – Impressions

Solo piano from this Israeli composer. Its theme is the ravages of war, a haunting, compassionate Chopinesque evocation.

 

9. Mike Viola – Good Ideas Grow on Trees

This is the Candy Butchers’ frontman doing his singer-songwriter thing. Hang in there for this one: it takes awhile to get going, but it’s worth it. “Good ideas will blow you away.” No doubt. Cool video by Michael Arthur.

 

10. Jenifer Jackson – Words

Not to be confused with the gorgeous Whispering Words (up on her myspace), this unreleased gem has the same existential intensity as Pink Floyd but with vastly more warmth and subtlety. And a playful synth solo. She’s at Rockwood Music Hall on 3/24 at 8.

March 17, 2009 Posted by | lists, Lists - Best of 2008 etc., Music, music, concert | , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | 1 Comment

Song of the Day 3/12/09

Every day, our top 666 songs of alltime countdown gets one step closer to #1. Thursday’s song is #503:

The PassengersFace with No Name

One of the greatest Australian bands of the late 70s, the Passengers tragically never achieved the fame they so deserved. With their haunting guitar-and-keyboard garage-pop sound and the chillingly direct, wrenchingly heartfelt vocals of frontwoman Angie Pepper, they were on the brink of releasing their first album when their label discovered that Pepper had secretly married Radio Birdman mastermind Deniz Tek. Fearing that she’d relocate to the States (they were right), the album was never released and the master tapes mysteriously went AWOL for years (but happily resurfaced, ending up on the 2001 Citadel cd reissue It’s Just That I Miss You). In the interim, all that had remained of the band’s recorded output was a single rehearsal tape, released on cd in 1985 on the French Revenge label. Despite the dodgy sound quality, the otherwordly quality of Pepper’s voice against the cascades of electric piano on this song will give you chills. On an even more auspicious note, Pepper resurrected the band in 2006 as an acoustic act; other than the new-ish recordings on their myspace, it remains to be seen how far they’ll go with it. The link in the title at the top is an imeem stream for the song.

March 12, 2009 Posted by | lists, Lists - Best of 2008 etc., Music, music, concert | , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment