Lucid Culture

JAZZ, CLASSICAL MUSIC AND THE ARTS IN NEW YORK CITY

The Church Spring 2010 US Tour Dates

Iconic Australian art-rockers the Church will be on acoustic tour, a sort of thirtieth anniversary celebration, with a New York show at City Winery on April 23. Can you imagine? It’s been thirty years since Unguarded Moment! This time around, the band has announced they’ll do one song from each of their [one assumes original, rather than greatest-hits] album releases, playing them in reverse chronological order. In other words, they’ll start with something from their latest, Untitled #23 (which ranked high on our Best Albums of 2009 list) and then work backwards. It promises to be interesting, to say the least. To further entice Church fans out, all ticketholders will receive a free copy of the Deadman’s Hand ep, including the title track (a killer cut from Untitled #23) along with unreleased tracks from the band’s “secret vault.”

APRIL

2 – San Juan Capistrano, CA – Coach House

4 – San Diego, CA – Anthology

5 – Los Angeles, CA – The Roxy (sponsored by KCRW)

6 – San Francisco, CA – Great American Music Hall

8 – Portland, OR – Mississippi Studios

9 – Seattle, WA – The Showbox

13 – Minneapolis, MN – Fine Line Music Café

14 – Madison, WI – Majestic Theatre

15 – Chicago, IL – Park West

17 – Cleveland, OH – The Winchester Tavern and Music Hall

18 – Ferndale, MI – The Magic Bag Theatre

19 – Pittsburgh, PA – Club Café

21 – Somerville, MA (Boston) – Arts At The Armory

22 – NYC, NY – City Winery

23 – Bay Shore, NY (Long Island) – Boulton Center for the Performing Arts

24 – Sellersville, PA – Sellersville Theatre

25 – Falls Church, VA (DC) – State Theatre

27 – Annapolis, MD – Rams Head On Stage

28 – Norfolk, VA – The Norva Theatre

29 – Raleigh, NC – Lincoln Theatre

30 – Charlotte, NC – TBA

MAY

1 – Atlanta, GA – Center Stage

More dates to be added, bookmark this space if you’re a fan like us!

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February 24, 2010 Posted by | concert, Music, music, concert, New York City, rock music | , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

CD Review: Bassekou Kouyate & Ngoni Ba – I Speak Fula

‘Even if there is a war going on and it is difficult to travel, a griot, with his ngoni slung around his back, was always allowed through, because it was known that he was going to play for a leader, and perhaps act as an intermediary for political negotiations,” remarked Bassekou Kouyate recently. Where he comes from, music has a few more more important functions than mere entertainment. The Malian bandleader’s axe of choice is the ngoni, a stringed instrument commonly referred to as the ancestor of the banjo with a similar clanking tone, rapid attack and decay. He gets major props in his native land for resurrecting the instrument from obscurity, adding both new techniques as well as western influences and modern electronic guitar effects. It’s not known if he’s ever been pressed into duty as a negotiator between warring factions. On US tour with Bela Fleck starting this month promoting their somewhat defiant new album I Speak Fula, Bassekou Kouyate & Ngoni Ba have come to conquer.

This is urban Malian music: spiky, circular and hypnotic in the indigenous folk tradition, but packed with imaginative licks and production touches that reveal how diverse Kouyate’s influences are, from fellow Malian Ali Farka Toure to Hendrix. It’s a mix of originals as well as new arrangements of historical ballads from over the years. What Tinariwen has done for the Tuaregs, these guys could do for what’s coming out of the cool kids’ ghetto blasters on the streets of Bamako – this stuff absolutely rocks.

The cd opens energetically with boisterous, spiraling ngoni and kora (West African harp)- throughout the album, interplay, much of it absolutely psychedelic, abounds. The first of the two most extraordinary tracks here is a tribute to Kouyate’s brother – who died while the album was being recorded – with Kouyate and Malian desert blues scion Vieux Farka Toure playing dizzying wah-wah clusters around each other. The other, Ladon, is a feast of scurrying blues runs, Kouyate showing off his bag of tricks with a big rapidfire crescendo of blues licks that could be American, or not. The band builds this to an unexpectedly explosive coda at the end: acoustic Malian heavy metal.

The closest thing to rock here is the impressively feminist Musow, fast and flurrying with wah-wah ngoni, building up to the end of the verse with a neat three-chord sequence, along with a big 6/8 ballad that could be British or Appalachian except for the language, Kouyate coming in hard against Vieux Farka Toure’s pensive, spacious guitar, nudging the guitarist to elevate his game. There’s also a swaying number that incorporates what sound like elements of both delta and Piedmont blues (or maybe not – this is where all that stuff originated, anyway), a dedication to Kouyate’s wife and bandmate/singer Amy with an intense, hypnotic jam between ngoni and Zoumana Tereta’s fiddle, and the pensive Moustafa, where the ngoni sounds almost like a vibraphone. Definitely the most exciting thing to come out of Africa since Tinariwen’s latest, last year. The album, believe it or not, is out on Sub Pop (the folks who brought you Nirvana).

February 5, 2010 Posted by | Music, music, concert, review, Reviews, world music | , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

The 200 Best Albums of the Decade, or, the 200 Best Albums of the Zeros

We’ve been promising you this for months now, so here it is. Maybe we’ll put up some descriptions after all the disruptive renovations here at Lucid Culture HQ are finished, around mid-month in October if all goes well. If you’re viewing this page prior to January 1, 2010, this list is subject to change – the best album of the decade may not even be released yet…

1.  Steve Wynn – Here Come the Miracles

2.  Rachelle Garniez – Melusine Years

3.  Rachelle Garniez – Luckyday

4.  Botanica – Botanica vs. the Truth Fish

5.  Randi Russo – Solar Bipolar

6.  Bob Dylan – Love & Theft

7.  LJ Murphy – Mad Within Reason

8.  Mary Lee’s Corvette – True Lovers of Adventure

9.  DollHouse – Touch the Moon

10. Mary Lee’s Corvette – Blood on the Tracks

11. Black Box Recorder – Passionioa

12. Jenifer Jackson – Outskirts of a Giant Town

13. Coffin Daggers – s/t (third album)

14. Brooklyn What – The Brooklyn What for Borough President

15. Matthew Grimm & the Red Smear – The Ghost of Rock n Roll

16. Dan Bryk – Pop Psychology

17. Bobby Vacant & the Weary – Tear Back the Night

18. Matt Keating – Quixotic

19. Curtis Eller’s American Circus – Wirewalkers & Assassins

20. Paula Carino – Aquacade

21. Erika Simonian – All the Plastic Animals

22. Chicha Libre – Sonido Amazonico

23. The Hangdogs – Wallace ‘48

24. Big Lazy – s/t (2nd album)

25. The JD Allen Trio – I Am I Am

26. Joy Division – Les Bains Douches 12/18/79 Live

27. The Jentsch Group Large – Brooklyn Suite

28. The Mofos – Supercharged on Alcohol

29. The Beefstock Recipes Anthology

30. Black 47 – Iraq

31. Balthrop, Alabama – Subway Songs

32. Steve Wynn and the Dragon Bridge Orchestra: Live in Brussels

33. The Oxygen Ponies – Harmony Handgrenade

34. 17 Pygmies – Celestina

35. Steve Wynn – Burgerhaus Heilbronn 4/3/2000

36. Tammy Faye Starlite – Used Country Female

37. Jay Bennett – Whatever Happened, I Apologize

38. Asylum Street Spankers – What? And Give Up Show Business?

39. Botanica – americanundone

40. Church – Untitled #23

41. Larval Organs – Posthumous

42. Marty Willson-Piper – Nightjar

43. McGinty & White Sing Selections from the McGinty & White Songbook

44. Kelli Rae Powell – New Words for Old Lullabies

45. Ivo Papasov – Dance of the Falcon

46. Amy Allison – Sheffield Streets

47. Erica Smith & the 99 Cent Dreams – Snowblind

48. Marcel Khalife – Taqasim

49. Kayhan Kalhor & Brooklyn Rider – Silent City

50. Greta Gertler & Peccadillo – Nervous Breakthroughs

51. Aimee Mann – Fucking Smilers

52. Elvis Costello – Momofuku

53. Randi Russo – Live at Sin-e

54. Black Sea Hotel – s/t

55. Willie Nile – Streets of NYC

56. Jenifer Jackson – Birds

57. Aimee Mann – Lost in Space

58. Botanica – With All Seven Fingers

59. The Church – After Everything Now This

60. RL Burnside – Burnside on Burnside

61. The Coup – Party Music

62. Richard Thompson – Semi-Detached Mock Tudor

63. The Wirebirds – Past & Gone

64. Steve Wynn – Static Transmisssion (double album)

65. Amy Allison – No Frills Friend

66. Neko Case – Blacklisted

67. Steve Earle – The Revolution Starts…Now

68. Steve Earle – Just an American Boy

69. Nina Nastasia – The Blackened Air

70. Ward White – Pulling Out

71. Greta Gertler – The Baby That Brought Bad Weather

72. The Moonlighters – Live in Baden-Baden

73. Randi Russo – Still Standing Still

74. Twin Turbine – Jolly Green Giant

75. Mamie Minch – Razorburn Blues

76. Alice Lee – Lovers & Losers

77. Serena Jost – Closer Than Far

78. Radio Birdman – Zeno Beach

79. Rasputina – A Radical Recital

80. Botanica – Berlin Hi-Fi

81. Sharon Goldman – Semi-Broken Heart

82. Ward White – Maybe But Probably Not

83. Elvis Costello – My Flame Burns Blue

84. Richard Thompson – Sweet Warrior

85. Big Lazy – Postcards from X

86. Love Camp 7 – Sometimes Always Never

87. Teslim – s/t

88. Natacha Atlas & the Marzeeka Ensemble – Ana Hina

89. Black Fortress of Opium – s/t

90. Randi Russo – Live at CB’s Gallery

91. Ljova & the Kontraband – Mnemosyne

92. Metropolitan Klezmer – Traveling Show

93. Lee Feldman – I’ve Forgotten Everything

94. Monika Jalili – Elan

95. Linda Draper – Bridge and Tunnel

96. Bee & Flower – What’s Mine Is Yours

97. Aimee Mann – The Forgotten Arm

98. Randi Russo – Shout Like a Lady

99. Melomane – Look Out!

100. The Moonlighters – Dreamland

101. Matt Keating – Tiltawhirl

102. Steve Wynn – …tick…tick…tick

103. Willie Nile – Live from the Streets of New York

104. Greta Gertler – Edible Restaurant

105. Carol Lipnik – Cloud Girl

106. Willie Nile – Beautiful Wreck of the World

107. Elisa Flynn – Songs About Birds & Ghosts

108. System Noise – s/t (second ep)

109. Satanicide – Heather

110. The Moonlighters – Surrender

111. Tandy – To a Friend/Did You Think I Was Gone

112. Dina Dean – 4 songs (ep)

113. Mary Lee’s Corvette – Love, Loss & Lunacy

114. Jenifer & Julian Jackson – Together in Time

115. Black Box Recorder – The Facts of Life

116. Patricia Vonne – s/t (first album)

117. Elvis Costello – When I Was Cruel

118. Eleni Mandell – Afternoon

119. The Hangdogs – Beware of the Dog

120. Mavrothi Kontanis – Wooden Heart

121. Barbara Brousal – Pose While It Pops

122. Laura Cantrell – Not the Trembling Kind

123. The Stagger Back Brass Band– s/t

124. The Dog Show – Hello, Yes

125. Rosanne Cash – Black Cadillac

126. Graham Parker – Songs of No Consequence

127. Douce Gimlet – s/t

128. Mascott – Art Project

129. The Dixie Bee-Liners – Ripe

130. Devi – Get Free

131. The Roulette Sisters – Nerve Medicine

132. Rev. Vince Anderson – The 13th Apostle

133. Champagne Francis – I Start to Daydream

134. Steve Wynn – Crossing Dragon Bridge

135. The Auteurs – How I Learned to Love the Bootboys

136. Hazmat Modine – Bahamut

137. Neko Case – Fox Confessor Brings the Flood

138. Everything Is Illuminated soundtrack

139. Eric Ambel – Roscoe’s Gang/Loud & Lonesome/Knucklehead box set

140. The Moonlighters – Enchanted

141. Ninth House – The Eye That Refuses to Blink

142. Patty Ocfemia – Heaven’s Best Guest

143. Mark Sinnis – Into an Unhidden Future

144. The Roots of Chicha compilation

145. Gogol Bordello – Gypsy Punks

146. Moisturizer – Moisturizer Takes Mars

147. Rachelle Garniez – Crazy Blood

148. Mark Steiner – Fallen Birds

149. Florence Dore – Perfect City

150. Dead Prez – Let’s Get Free

151. Peter Tosh – Live and Dangerous Boston 1976

152. Sounds of Taraab – Zanzibar, NY

153. System Noise – Give Me Power

154. The Go Go’s – God Save the Go Go’s

155. The Slackers – Peculiar

156. Sally Norvell – Choking Victim

157. 9th Wave – Hurricane

158. Amanda Thorpe – Union Square

159. Barbara Dennerlein – Spiritual Movement No. 2

160. Nick Cave – B-Sides and Rarities box set

161. Leslie Nuss – Round 3

162. Rasputina – Cabin Fever

163. Big Lazy – New Everything

164. Salaam – s/t (7th album)

165. Les Chauds Lapins – Parlez-Moi d’Amour

166. Zach James – Album 3

167. Linda Draper – Patchwork

168. The Church – Uninvited Like the Clouds

169. The Jack Grace Band – The Martini Cowboy

170. Matt Munisteri’s Brock Mumford – Love Story

171. The Yayhoos – Fear Not the Obvious

172. X – Live in Los Angeles

173. The Dirty Three – She Has No Strings Apollo

174. American Ambulance – Streets of NYC

175. Roxy Music – Live

176. Pink Floyd – Is There Anybody Out There [live album from 2000]

177. Laika & the Cosmonauts – Laika Sex Machine Live

178.  Demolition String Band – Pulling Up Atlantis

179. Steve Wynn & the Miracle 3 – Live at Big Mama

180. The Lost Crusaders – Have You Heard About the World

181. Burning Spear – Live at Montreaux Jazz Festival 2001

182. Sade – Lovers Live

183. Los Straitjackets – Damas y Caballerros

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

185. Tom Warnick & World’s Fair – May I See Some ID

186. Jan Bell – Songs for Love Drunk Sinners

187. Penelope Houston – Pale Green Girl

188. Luminescent Orchestrii – Neptune’s Daughter

189. The Bedsit Poets – The Summer That Changed

190. Martin Bisi – Son of a Gun

191. Linda Draper – Ricochet

192. Easy Star’s Lonely Hearts Dub Band

193. The Dog Show – Demo

194. Revlover – On Ordinary Days

195. Tinariwen – Aman Iman: Water Is Life

196. Secretary – Secret Life of Secretary

197. Pinataland – Songs for the Forgotten Future Vol. 2

198. Maynard & the Musties – So Many Funerals

199. Si Para Usted: The Funky Beats of Revolutionary Cuba Vol. 2

200. Jenifer Jackson – So High

September 22, 2009 Posted by | lists, Lists - Best of 2008 etc., Music, music, concert | , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

The 50 Best Albums of 2009

You’ll notice that aside from the #1 spot here, these aren’t ranked in any kind of order: the difference, quality-wise between #1 and #50 is so slight as to make the idea of trying to sort out which might be “better” an exercise in futility. If you’re interested, here’s our 100 Best Songs of 2009 list.

1. The Brooklyn What – The Brooklyn What for Borough President

Like London Calling, it’s a diverse yet consistently ferocious, sometimes hilarious mix of styles imbued with punk energy and an edgy, quintessentially New York intensity. Time will probably judge this a classic.

2. Matthew Grimm & the Red Smear – The Ghost of Rock n Roll

The former Hangdogs frontman’s finest, funniest, most spot-on moment as a fearless, politically aware Americana rocker.

3. The Oxygen Ponies – Harmony Handgrenade

Dating from the waning days of the Bush regime, this is a murderously angry album about living under an enemy occupation: love in a time of choler?

4. The Beefstock Recipes anthology

A rich double album of some of New York’s best bands, with standout tracks from the Secrets, Paula Carino, Erica Smith, Skelter, Rebecca Turner and many more.

5. Dan Bryk – Pop Psychology

Arguably the most insightful – and most brutally funny – album ever written about the music industry. The tunes are great too.

6. Balthrop, Alabama – Subway Songs

The sprawling Brooklyn band go deep into 60s noir with this brilliantly morbid, phantasmagorical ep.

7. Bobby Vacant & the Weary – Tear Back the Night

In the spirit of Dark Side of the  Moon and Closer, this is a masterpiece of artsy existentialist rock. You’ll find several tracks on our Best Songs of 2009 list, including our #1 pick, Never Looking Back.

8. Botanica – americanundone

All the fearless fury and rage of a Botanica live show successfully captured at a show in Germany late last year.

9. Kelli Rae Powell – New Words for Old Lullabies

The amazingly lyrical oldtimey chanteuse alternates between sultry, devious romantic stylings and sheer unhinged anger.

10. McGinty & White Sing Selections from the McGinty & White Songbook

Ward White and Joe McGinty’s wickedly lyrical collaboration puts a fresh spin on retro 60s psychedelic pop.

11. The Church – Untitled #23

The Australian art-rock legends’ latest is yet another triumph of swirling atmospherics and intense lyricism.

12. Amy Allison – Sheffield Streets

Her best album – the New York song stylist has never been funnier or more acerbic. Includes a charming duet with Elvis Costello.

13. Steve Wynn and the Dragon Bridge Orchestra – Live in Brussels

A lush, majestic effort recorded with the stellar crew who played on his most recent studio album Crossing Dragon Bridge.

14. Elisa Flynn – Songs About Birds & Ghosts

Haunting and poignant but also cleverly amusing, the New York rocker has never written better or sung more affectingly.

15. The Jazz Funeral – s/t – free download

The best band ever to come out of Staten Island, New York, these janglerockers write excellent lyrics and have some very catchy Americana-inflected tunes.

16. Jay Bennett – Whatever Happened, I Apologize – free download

The last album the great Americana songwriter ever recorded, a harrowing chronicle of dissolution and despair.

17. Marty Willson-Piper – Nightjar

The Church’s iconic twelve-string guitarist’s finest work ever, a sweeping, majestic, multistylistic masterpiece.

18. Black Sea Hotel – s/t

New York’s own Bulgarian vocal choir’s debut is otherworldly, gorgeous and strikingly innovative.

19. Rupa & the April Fishes – Este Mundo

Latin meets noir cabaret meets acoustic gypsy punk on the Bay Area band’s sensational second album.

20. The JD Allen Trio – Shine!

The tenor saxophonist/composer goes straight for wherever the melody is, usually in four minutes or less, with one of the world’s great rhythm sections, Gregg August on bass and Rudy Royston on drums. Time may also judge this a classic.

21. The New Collisions – s/t

All the fun and edgy intensity of vintage 80s new wave reinvented for the next decade by platinum-haired frontwoman Sarah Guild and her killer backing band.

22. Ten Pound Heads – s/t

The great long lost Blue Oyster Cult album: relentlessly dark, edgy, occasionally noir art-rock songs with layers of great guitar.

23. Easy Star’s Lonely Hearts Dub Band

A hilariously woozy, fun romp through the songs from Sergeant Pepper, by the allstar NYC reggae crew who brought us Dub Side of the Moon and Radiodread.

24. Jeff Zentner – The Dying Days of Summer

Intense, memorable Nashville gothic songwriting from one of its finest practitioners.

25. Chris Eminizer – Twice the Animal

Cleverly lyrical art-rock songwriting with tinges of vintage Peter Gabriel from this first-rate New York rocker.

26. Tinariwen – Imidiwan: Companions

The Tuareg rockers’ most diverse, accessible album, as memorable as it is hypnotic.

27. Monika Jalili – Elan

Classic songs from Iran from the 60s and 70s, fondly and hauntingly delivered by the Iranian-American siren and her amazing backup band.

28. Ivo Papasov – Dance of the Falcon

The iconic Bulgarian clarinetist delivers maybe his most adrenalizing, intense album of gypsy music ever.

29. The Stagger Back Brass Band – s/t

The Spinal Tap of brass bands are as virtuosic and melodic as they are funny – which is a lot.

30. Eric Vloeimans‘ Fugimundi – Live at Yoshi’s

The Dutch trumpeter leads a trio through a particularly poignant, affecting mix of classically-tinged jazz.

31. The Asylum Street Spankers – What? And Give Up Show Business?

Recorded at the Barrow Street Theatre in New York last year, this is a boisterous, furious mix of hilarious skits and songs by the Dead Kennedys of the oldtimey scene.

32. Salaam – s/t

Sister-and-brother Dena and Amir El Saffar’s richly memorable, haunting seventh album of Middle Eastern instrumentals and ballads.

33. Fishtank Ensemble – Samurai over Serbia

Their shtick is that they add an Asian tinge to gypsy music, giving it an especially wild edge. The singing saw work on the album is pretty amazing too.

34. Charles Evans/Neil Shah – Live at Saint Stephens

An eerily glimmering, suspensefully minimalist masterpiece by the baritone sax player and pianist, recorded in a sonically exquisite old church earlier this year.

35. The Silk Road Ensemble – Off the Map

Their first one without Yo-yo Ma is also their most adventurous mix of Asian and Middle Eastern-themed compositions (by Osvaldo Golijov, Angel Lam, Evan Ziporyn and others), played by an allstar cast including Kayhan Kalhor, string quartet Brooklyn Rider, pipa pioneer Wu Man and a cast of dozens.

36. Linda Draper – Bridge and Tunnel

The NYC songwriter’s most straightforward, catchy yet also maybe her most lyrically edgy album yet – and she has several.

37. Darren Gaines and the Key Party – My Blacks Don’t Match

Wry, Tom Waits-inflected noir songs by this excellent NYC crew.

38. Love Camp 7 – Union Garage

A deliciously jangly followup to their classic 2007 album Sometimes Always Never.

39. The Komeda Project – Requiem

The New York jazz crew’s second collection of works by the Roman Polanski collaborator who died tragically in the 1960s is brooding, morbid, cinematic and Mingus-esque.  

40. Si Para Usted Vol. 2 – The Funky Beats of Revolutionary Cuba

Like the Roots of Chicha series, Waxing Deep’s second devious, danceable collection of genre-hopping obscure Latin funk from 1970s Cuba onward is packed with obscure gems.

41. Huun Huur Tu and Carmen Rizzo – Eternal

Ominous, windswept, atmospheric North Asian ambience produced with stately, understated power.

42. The Moonlighters – Enchanted

Another great album: gorgeous harmonies from Bliss Blood and Cindy Ball, charming retro 20s songwriting and incisive steel guitar from NYC’s best oldtimey band.

43. Minamo – Kuroi Kawa/Black River

Pianist Satoko Fujii and violinist Carla Kihlstedt share a telepathic chemistry in duo soundscapes ranging from clever and playful to downright macabre.

44. Robin O’Brien – The Apple in Man

The multistylistic chanteuse, legendary in the cassette underground, gets her haunting, intense, otherworldly vocals set to smart, terse new arrangements from dreampop to 70s style Britfolk to trance.

45. Devi – Get Free

Ferociously smart pychedelic power trio rock with one of the most interesting lead guitarists out there right now.

46. Obits – I Blame You

Dark, catchy, propulsive retro 60s garage rock with echoes of the Stooges and early Pink Floyd by this inspired Brooklyn band.

47. HuDost – Trapeze

Sweeping, sometimes hypnotic, artsy songs that move from Americana to gypsy to goth, with frontwoman Moksha Sommer’s graceful vocals.

48. Lenny Molotov – Illuminated Blues

Hauntingly visionary, provocative, politically aware songs set to gorgeously rustic, late 1920s blues, swing and hillbilly arrangements by the great Americana guitarist.

49. Chang Jui-Chuan – Exodus: Retrospective and Prospective 1999-2009

Fearless conscious bilingual hip-hop (in Taiwanese and English) from this international star.

50. Les Triaboliques – rivermudtwilight

A trio of old British punks – Justin Adams, Ben Mandelson and Lu Edmonds – combine to create a masterpiece of desert-inspired duskcore.

September 17, 2009 Posted by | jazz, Music, music, concert, rock music | , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | 4 Comments